x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

UK to confirm nationality of man arrested in Bahrain air scare

Breaking news:The British embassy in Bahrain is trying to verify the nationality of a man who was arrested on suspicion of carrying explosives onto an ex-UAE flight bound for the UK.

DUBAI // British Embassy officials in Bahrain are trying to confirm the nationality of a man arrested on suspicion of carrying explosives on to a flight to the UK that originated in the UAE.

An official at the embassy in Bahrain's capital of Manama told The National that investigations were taking place to determine his nationality.

A search of the aircraft by Bahrain security forces found no explosives on board.

"We are aware of the incident and are currently trying to find out if he is British or not," a spokeswoman for the embassy said. "If he is, then we will provide him with consular support."

The spokeswoman said the embassy expected to have confirmation by this evening.

Bahrain-based carrier Gulf Air confirmed on its Twitter and Facebook pages that an incident had taken place aboard one of its aircraft.

“Gulf Air can confirm that flight GF 547 with 39 passengers from Abu Dhabi to Bahrain on Monday 25 July was taken to an isolated part of the airport upon landing at Bahrain Airport following a security alert,” the airline said on its Facebook page.

“Authorities resolved the situation immediately and all passengers were disembarked safely.”

Earlier today, Bahrain's interior ministry said via its Twitter feed that a British man of Asian descent had been arrested.

"Security arrested British national of Asian roots after suspecting him of carrying explosives on board of a transit airplane going to UK," the ministry tweeted. "Investigation with suspect and legal procedures against him are taking place."

The aeroplane was headed to the UK, with a stopover in Bahrain.

The Reuters news agency quoted the ministry as saying, "After ensuring the safety of all the passengers and inspecting them and the airplane, no explosives were found aboard the plane and investigations of the suspect are continuing."

No further details were immediately available. The ministry said it would provide more information later.

Reuters also quoted Pan-Arab news channel Al Arabiya as saying the flight had originated in the UAE.

Al Arabiya said the man was taken off the plane in Manama in a hysterical or drunken state.

Witnesses said security forces had been heavily deployed around Bahrain International Airport.

But a government official said the airport had returned to normal operations.

"The situation is under control," he told Reuters.

nhanif@thenational.ae