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Air Canada flight to Brazil ordered back to Toronto

The Sao Paulo-bound flight spent seven hours in the air

TORONTO – An Air Canada flight to Brazil carrying 189 passengers was ordered Wednesday to return to Toronto after several hours in the air due to a security scare at Pearson International airport.

Flight AC 090 took off normally for Sao Paolo at around 11:30 p.m., unaware that a male passenger had boarded the aircraft without proper screening, an Air Canada spokesman said.

“With the aircraft already in the air for four hours, we were notified of this and ordered by Transport Canada to have the aircraft return to Toronto,” Peter Fitzpatrick said Thursday.

The plane landed normally at 6:30 a.m. at Pearson and was surrounded by police and security officials.

“Police came on board and got a man,” Canadian basketball coach, Chantal Vallee, who was on the flight, said in a tweet.

“We were told he got on the plane without passing through security and got caught on tape. I see him in the boarding area now!?”

It was not immediately clear what happened to the man in question.

Peel region police did not immediately return a call seeking comment. A spokeswoman for Transport Canada, which issued the return order, said she could not discuss any details beyond the general role of the agency.

Airport authorities, who did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday, had said late Wednesday that all departing international flights from Terminal 1 were suspended while police searched for a male passenger who had reportedly passed through airport security without being checked.

The Air Canada flight had apparently just taken off when the flights were grounded.

The flight departed again for Brazil mid-morning Thursday.

“Yeah!! Boarding now back to Sao Paulo!” Vallee tweeted.

“I think that will mean 18 hours of flying in 24 hours.”

Vallee said she thought Air Canada handled the situation well.