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False alarm forces plane to land here

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The Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 landed safely in Winnipeg after a false alarm suggested a fire had broken out in the cargo hold.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

The Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 landed safely in Winnipeg after a false alarm suggested a fire had broken out in the cargo hold. Photo Store

Passengers who made an unexpected stop in Winnipeg Thursday on a Cathay Pacific jet heading to Chicago from Hong Kong were expected to finally reach their destination early this morning.

The 277 passengers and crew were scheduled to arrive in Chicago at about 1 a.m. today after the airline sent in a different aircraft.

The update from Winnipeg Airports Authority spokeswoman Christine Payne Thursday afternoon ended a stressful afternoon for the international travellers.

Their flight was diverted to Winnipeg and landed Thursday afternoon after an indicator light came on alerting the flight crew to a possible fire in the cargo hold.

Cathay Pacific Flight 806 landed safely in Winnipeg at Richardson International Airport at 12:53 p.m.

WAA officials, firefighters and emergency first responders went on board but no fire or signs of fire were found.

Transit buses shuttled the passengers and crew to area hotels, where they were given rooms and food.

It was unknown Thursday night why the fire indicator light came on.
Few of the passengers spoke English, so communication was left to two airport staff fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese.

"They’re in good hands. I don’t think they planned on being in Winnipeg today but we’re taking care of them," Payne said Thursday.

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