x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Emirates Airline reviewing case of flight attendant who left bomb threat in toilet

The case of a flight attendant jailed for causing a mid-air bomb scare is to be reviewed by Emirates Airline.

Emirates Airline has launched a review into a case involving one of its flight attendants who was jailed for causing a mid-air bomb scare that shut down Britain's second-busiest airport. Matthew Carney, 23, left a note in the lavatory on board an Emirates flight from Dubai to London that claimed explosives had been hidden in the cargo hold. A passenger found the note moments before flight EK011 was due to land at Gatwick Airport on March 22. The captain radioed ahead to the control tower, which alerted police, fire and ambulance crews. The airport was shut for around 20 minutes and incoming air traffic was halted for more than an hour.

Carney, from Melbourne, Australia, pleaded guilty at a hearing at Lewes Crown Court in southern England in May to leaving a hoax bomb threat and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. His note read: "Explosive material can be found in the FWD [forward cargo hatch]. "We have the Taliban to thank for this." A second note in his luggage, in a pocket of his shorts, said, "Cargo contains explosive." At the hearing Carney said he had suffered a mental breakdown after working back-to-back shifts and could not explain why he had written the note.

His lawyer, Andel Singh, said Carney had been under a great deal of stress and was "extremely tired". Some passengers had been left with a fear of flying following the scare, the court heard. A spokeswoman for the airline said: "Emirates is currently reviewing all information relating to this case. We must emphasise, though, that while this is a very serious issue and being dealt with accordingly, it is also isolated."

She said the airline treated the case as a very serious matter but refused to answer questions put by The National about the psychological screening process to which potential air crew are subjected. One hundred and sixty-four passengers and 18 crew were evacuated from the Boeing 777 after it landed. The entire emergency operation cost £42,000 (Dh251,000). chamilton@thenational.ae