Plane diverted to Greenland finally lands in Seattle

SEATTLE — A Seattle-bound jetliner that was diverted to Greenland after threatening messages were found at the Seattle airport and a nearby restaurant finally arrived here this afternoon after experts determined there was no bomb on board.

The general manager for Scandinavian Airlines System in New York, Jorgen Hoe-Knudsen, said the plane took off after it was searched by bomb-sniffing dogs and Danish explosives experts.

SAS Flight 937 from Copenhagen arrived just about 24 hours late.

Thomas Jaeger, 37, a cellular telecommunications engineer from Germany, walked off the plane wearing a gray-and-black baseball cap that said "Greenland," complete with a polar bear picture.

"People in Europe want to play it very safe rather than risk anything," he said. "There was nobody anxious about missing any business or anything like that."

He missed the first day of a Voicestream conference in Seattle but planned to attend Thursday’s second session.

He termed the Greenland detour a nice sidetrip and said he enjoyed a tour of the mountains.

The flight was diverted yesterday to the Kangerlussuaq airport, located in the city of Soendre Stroemfjord, a former U.S. Army base about 280 miles north of Greenland’s capital, Nuuk.

People on board noticed nothing unusual, Greenland police vice superintendent Erik Terp said earlier, but the plane was immediately isolated and the airport was temporarily closed for all traffic. It was reopened this afternoon.

The 192 passengers and 11 crew members were evacuated and taken to a nearby hotel.

SAS, the joint national carrier for Denmark, Sweden and Norway, also treated most of the passengers to a free tour of Greenland’s icecap, which covers 85 percent of the world’s largest island.

A written threat was found yesterday at a Jack in the Box restaurant near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and another was found in an airport restroom, said Bob Parker, a SeaTac airport spokesman. Parker said the matter had been turned over to the FBI.

Seattle FBI spokesman Ray Lauer said he had little information about the threats.

Shift manager Shirad Alsamarrai said the Jack in the Box threat was written on a wall in the men’s room.

One threat read "SAS 937 bomb," said Anders Bjorck, an SAS spokesman in Bridgeport, Conn. The other was similar "with some obscene words at the end of it," he said. Both were written in English.

The information was relayed to the pilot, who decided to divert the flight, Bjorck said.

Greenland, with some 55,000 inhabitants, is a semiautonomous Danish territory.