Bomb Threat Forces Athens-New York Flight to Land in London

A bomb threat forced a New York-bound Greek airliner to make an emergency landing Sunday at London's Stansted Airport escorted by military jets, authorities said.

Police sources in Greece said the Athens daily newspaper Ethnos received a phone call saying there was a bomb on board Olympic Airlines plane.

Authorities immediately notified the pilot, who asked for a military escort, said the sources.

Britain's Royal Air Force scrambled planes to assist the jet, the Ministry of Defense said. The plane, Olympic flight 411 from Athens to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, landed safely at Stansted at 3:30 p.m., an airport spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman said the plane, with 301 passengers on board, landed in "full emergency" status and was safely evacuated.

"It is not believed to be anything out of the ordinary at this stage," a Department of Transport spokesman said on condition of anonymity. "Fortunately nothing has exploded, if indeed there was a bomb on board, but we take all threats seriously."

Airline officials said the sweep of the aircraft would take up to four hours and then the passengers would continue their trip on the same plane.

The defense ministry said the Royal Air Force jets had returned to base.