Pilot arrested for trying to take knives on a flight

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HONG KONG — Cathay Pacific was forced to cancel a scheduled flight from London to Hong Kong after one of the pilots was arrested after trying to board the airliner with knives in his luggage.

The pilot, who has not been identified, was stopped during security checks as the flight prepared to depart on Saturday night, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement Monday.

“At around 21:10 hours police at Heathrow Airport were called to a staff search area.

“Officers attended and subsequently the member of flight crew, a man, was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and possession of a knife blade / sharp pointed article in a public place.”

He was then taken into custody at a local police station where he was later bailed and ordered to return in May pending an investigation, the police statement added.

Cathay Pacific, which is headquartered in Hong Kong, told CNN in an email that it would cooperate with authorities, but that it was unable to provide further details as the incident is being investigated by police.

It apologized to the 262 people on board Flight CX254, which eventually departed on Sunday, adding that it assisted passengers with overnight accommodation in London and alternative flight arrangements.

Passengers were forced to wait in the seats on board the Boeing 777 for more than two hours before the service was canceled.

“They just told us there were crew issues. The captain said ‘apologies for everything that has happened’. He said they tried to get another pilot but they couldn’t get there on time,” one passenger on the flight told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

By Paul Armstrong