x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Two charged over plane bomb threat

Two Britons have been charged in connection with a bomb threat that grounded a Dubai-bound Emirates flight shortly before it was due to take off from London.

Two Britons have been charged in connection with a bomb threat that grounded a Dubai-bound Emirates flight shortly before it was due to take off from London. Robert Fowles, 58, from the coastal town of Dover in southeast England, has been charged with a bomb hoax and being drunk on board an aircraft. He has been remanded in custody and is due to appear before Westminster Magistrates' court in London today. Another passenger arrested, 48-year-old Alexander McGinn, also from Dover, has been charged with being drunk on board an aircraft. He has been released on bail and will appear before magistrates later this month. Police have released without charge a 36-year-old man also arrested during the incident at London Heathrow Airport. The Emirates flight was taxiing before take-off when a bomb threat was made to a member of the cabin crew. Armed police boarded the Boeing 777 and arrested the three men and the aircraft was searched, although nothing suspicious was found. The 331 passengers were taken off and sent to hotels for the night. They flew back from Heathrow at 3pm on Saturday, landing in Dubai at 1.44am today. Airport security has been stepped up worldwide after an alleged attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on Christmas Day to set off a suicide bomb on an Amsterdam to Detroit flight. Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian, last week pleaded not guilty to six charges related to the incident. dbardsley@thenational.ae