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Tue 5 Aug 2014 05:04 PM

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Qatar Airways passenger arrested in the UK over hoax bomb threat

Aircraft was escorted into Manchester Airport by Royal Air Force military jets

Qatar Airways passenger arrested in the UK over hoax bomb threat
Photo for illustrative purposes.

A man on board a Qatar Airways plane escorted into Manchester airport by a military jet on Tuesday has been arrested on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat, British police have confirmed.

Greater Manchester Police said officers had treated the incident as a "full emergency", resulting in Manchester Airport being closed for 25 minutes, with nine flights diverted to nearby Liverpool and Leeds-Bradford airports.

Chief Superintendent John O'Hare said: "An incoming plane has been escorted into the airport by the Royal Air Force as a result of information received by the pilot about a possible device on board."

Qatar Airways has issued the following statement: "Qatar Airways can confirm that flight QR23 from Doha to Manchester, an Airbus A330-300, landed safely at Manchester Airport ahead of its scheduled arrival time of 13:15.

"There were 269 passengers and 13 Qatar Airways crew on board. The crew onboard had received a threat about a possible device on board and Qatar Airways immediately took all the necessary precautions to alert British authorities.

"The crew is now fully assisting police at the airport with their inquiries. The safety and well-being of our passengers and crew is our top priority. As this is a matter of a police investigation, we cannot comment further at this time. "

While all passengers have now disembarked the aircraft, one male passenger was escorted off the plane in handcuffs and has been held by police for questioning.

Images courtesy of Reuters/Andrew Yates

"We can confirm that Typhoon aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby in their quick reaction alert role this afternoon to investigate a civilian aircraft whose pilot had requested assistance," Britain's Ministry of Defence said in a statement to Reuters.

"The aircraft was escorted to Manchester where it landed safely. This incident is now being handled by the civilian authorities."

Greater Manchester Police said on their official Twitter feed that they had detained one man in connection with the incident.

"A man who was on board the plane ... has been arrested on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat," they said.

Britain has a standard response to such incidents which always involves scrambling fighter jets and emergency services.

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Buddy 6 years ago

Its now waiting for the reaction of Qatar Airways CEO; likely to be loud and focal as usual, complaining that its all an overreaction.....

Marc Z 5 years ago

How does provision of escort to the plane by a military jet help in a situation like this? If there was a real explosive device and it had exploded etc, what help can the escort plane provide? Puzzles me.


Eno 5 years ago

For Marc Z... I think the military jet escorted the plane because if it didn't follow the root and land in the airport, they were going to shoot it down..

Magnus 5 years ago

It simply to escort the plane and make sure it will not divert route to hit target building, in that case the military jet will surely take it down.

Chalky6766 5 years ago

The fighter was an escort whilst the cockpit was unbreached, it was a guide to the runway should systems have failed. It would have gone live if terrorists had taken control, no doubt.