x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Britons charged in Emirates bomb scare

Two men are charged with offences after a bomb threat grounded an Emirates plane.

Two Britons have been charged in connection with a bomb threat that grounded a Dubai-bound Emirates Airline flight shortly before it was due to take off from London. Robert Fowles, 58, from the coastal town of Dover in south-east England, has been accused of making a bomb threat and being drunk on board an aircraft. He is in custody and scheduled to appear before Westminster Magistrates' court in London today.

Another passenger, Alexander McGinn, 48, 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 allegedly 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 from Heathrow at 3pm on Saturday, landing in Dubai at 1.44am yesterday.

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