Qantas flight turns back to N. Zealand after bomb scare

WELLINGTON (AFP) - A Qantas flight from New Zealand to Australia was forced to turn back Sunday following reports of a suspicious item on board, but the feared device turned out to be a standard fitting.

The Boeing 737 was more than an hour into the flight to Sydney when the pilot was told to return to Auckland, where the aircraft was parked away from other planes.

The passengers were evacuated and taken to a secure area and the police bomb squad was called in to investigate.

Police later said in a statement that the suspicious item "turned out to be part of the interior of the aircraft that is not normally visible".

A Qantas spokesman told the New Zealand Herald that information of a suspicious package on board would have been reported by either cabin crew or the captain. No details about the fitting which sparked the alarm were released.

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