Britain scrambled two fighter jets on Tuesday to escort a Qatar Airways plane into Manchester airport after the pilot reported a possible explosive device on board. A passenger was later arrested on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat.
The incident, which prompted the authorities to close the northern England airport for 25 minutes, briefly raised fears of a terrorism attack.
Qatar Airways said the Airbus A330-300 plane was flight QR23 from Doha to Manchester with 269 passengers and 13 crew on board. A Reuters photographer saw armed police remove a handcuffed male passenger dressed in baggy trousers and a sports shirt from the plane.
“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. “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.
Twitter user Josh Hartley tweeted pictures from inside the plane:
Being escorted in pic.twitter.com/SlV57ybCWj— Josh Hartley (@JoshHartley_) August 5, 2014
With reports from Globe staff and Associated Press
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