The takeoff of a British Airways flight to London was delayed here for more than five hours Saturday night by a bomb threat.

British Airways officials halted Flight 226 minutes before its scheduled 6:15 p.m. departure after an unidentified man called the airline's New York office and told officials there was a bomb aboard the DC-10, said John W. Lample, the airline's director of public affairs in the United States.Lample said no explosives were found in a 5-hour search and the aircraft carrying 122 passengers left Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport for London's Gatwick Airport at 11:41 p.m.

British officials said they were taking very seriously telephone threats made in recent days to British Airways' Bombay office to blow up a jetliner unless author Salman Rushdie emerges from seclusion in Britain.