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New Zealand flight evacuated after hoax note found

Written by: Staff
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SYDNEY, July 7 (Reuters) More than 100 passengers were evacuated today from a flight headed to New Zealand from a regional Australian airport after a note containing a hoax bomb threat was found before it took off, police said.

The flight operated by Freedom Air, a budget subsidiary of Air New Zealand, was due to take off from the Coolangatta airport in northern Queensland state for New Zealand when a passenger found an apparently threatening note.

''It was a hoax,'' Australian Federal Police (AFP) spokesman Nicholas Pedley said.

Pedley said all 107 passengers were evacuated from the plane and all were safe. The plane was towed away from the terminal to a remote corner of the airport and searched, he said.

The scribbled note was found after the plane had arrived from the New Zealand city of Auckland, Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported.

The maximum penalty for making a threat against aviation security is a fine of Australian dollar 5,500 (4,070 dollar), Pedley said.

In a separate incident, an Irish man was arrested and charged with assault after he allegedly hit a female attendant on a flight from Singapore, police said.

The 38-year-old man appeared intoxicated and was abusive to other passengers before the incident, the AFP said in a statement. Police would give no other information.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail.

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