LONDON // A drunken former British army officer who caused a security alert on a flight bound for Dubai avoided going to jail yesterday.
Ronald Fowles triggered the scare by telling passengers "there is a bomb on this plane" and "we are going to blow up", which grounded the Emirates flight at London Heathrow in January 2010.
Police stormed the plane and arrested the 59-year-old and his travel companion, 49-year-old Alexander McGinn, and 330 passengers were taken off the plane. However, a search of the cabin turned up no dangerous substances.
The pair had indulged in a heavy drinking session at the airport before boarding, prosecutor Martin Fox told Southwark Crown Court in London.
"He was sat next to a young lady in his bank of seats," Mr Fox said. "She heard him mumble either, 'there are bombs on this plane' or 'there is a bomb on this plane', and she became upset.One man who was sitting close by could hear him say, 'We are all going to die, we are all going to get killed, we are going to blow up'."
Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith sentenced Fowles, who had admitted one charge of being drunk on an aircraft, to four months in prison. He was not jailed because he had already served seven days in custody and 220 days on curfew.
Another charge of making a bomb threat was dropped. McGinn was acquitted.
* Agence France-Presse