November 4, 2013 2:45 pm
Updated: November 4, 2013 4:11 pm

5 people boarded Venezuela-Toronto Air Canada flight using fake tickets

Air Canada and Venezuelan authorities are investigating an incident involving five people boarding a Toronto-bound flight using fake tickets. (File Photo)

The Canadian Press
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VANCOUVER – Five people managed to board a Toronto-bound Air Canada flight from Venezuela using fake tickets.

The crew of Flight AC075 found five extra passengers on board the plane before it was set to take off from the Simon Bolivar International Airport, outside Caracas, at 7:15 a.m. on Friday.

The five illegitimate passengers included four Iranians and one Afghan, none of whom had a visa to enter Canada.

Air Canada said the flight was delayed because of “immigration issues.”

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“Our secondary load verification process detected a discrepancy in the number of passengers on board prior to take-off and five people were subsequently removed from the aircraft,” Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick told Global News in an email on Monday.

According to a statement on the airport’s website, Luis Graterol Caraballo, the airport’s general director, said all passengers had to disembark the aircraft so their identities could be checked.
At that time officials identified the illegitimate passengers.

The plane was able to depart from Venezuela at approximately 12:36 p.m. the same day.

According to the statement on the airport’s website, authorities detained four people — including an Air Canada employee, two private airport security agents and an immigration officer — on human trafficking-related charges.

But Fitzpatrick said the employee was not an Air Canada employee, but an employee of “a third party company to provide airport services in Caracas.”

There was no indication if the five people with the bogus tickets will be facing any charges.

Fitzpatrick said Air Canada and Venezuelan authorities are still investigating the incident and “have no further information at this time.”

The Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) is aware of what happened. Spokesperson Amitha Carandin said  CBSA is “working closely with domestic and international partners to ensure the safety and security of Canada’s borders.”

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