(LEAD) 2 live bullets found at Korean Air plane about to take off; authorities find no link to terrorism
(ATTN: RECASTS headline; ADDS land ministry's stance, more details of incident in last 4 paras)
INCHEON, March 10 (Yonhap) -- Two live bullets were found on a Korean Air plane about to take off from Incheon International Airport on Friday, grounding the aircraft for hours and causing more than 200 passengers to evacuate, airport police said.
The airport police received a report at 8:05 a.m. that a passenger found the bullets lying under his seat at the airplane bound for Manila, the Philippines.
The plane had been scheduled to take off at 7:45 a.m. but returned to the terminal right before take-off after the bullets were found.
A total of 230 people aboard the plane -- 218 passengers and 12 crew members -- were also evacuated.
Police officials said an antiterrorist police unit and a military explosive disposal team were searching the interior of the aircraft.
Police plan to look into how the live bullets were brought into the airplane.
Gun possession is illegal in South Korea, except for licensed sporting and hunting guns, which must be stored at police stations.
After the initial police report, the land ministry carried out a joint reinvestigation with the police and the spy agency over the aforesaid air carrier and its passengers, and found nothing suspicious, including the possibility of terrorism.
The plane took off for its destination at 11:29 a.m., after being delayed for three hours and 44 minutes.
Ministry officials said they were looking into "all possible scenarios that the live ammunition was able to be carried into the plane."
They also said the airport and the airline company will be held "legally accountable for possible leniency at the in-flight checks or security checkpoints."
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