x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Man arrested over bomb hoax on Qatar Airways flight to Manchester

Police say they have arrested a man on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat after a Qatar Airways flight landed with a military fighter escort at Britain’s Manchester Airport.

A man in a green T-shirt is escorted off the Qatar Airways plane by police at Manchester airport. Andrew Yates / Reuters
A man in a green T-shirt is escorted off the Qatar Airways plane by police at Manchester airport. Andrew Yates / Reuters

LONDON // Police say they have arrested a man on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat after a Qatar Airways flight landed with a military fighter escort at Britain’s Manchester Airport.

A Reuters photographer said armed police had removed a man from the aircraft in connection with the incident.

There were 269 passengers and 13 crew on board the Qatar Airways Flight 23 from Doha, which made a safe landing on Tuesday after the pilot received a warning of a possible device on board.

Manchester Airport was closed for 25 minutes before reopening, an airport spokesman said.

“An incoming plane has been escorted into the airport by the Royal Air Force as a result of information received by the pilot about a possible device on board,” Chief Superintendent John O’Hare said in a statement.

After landing, the plane was moved to a designated area to allow specialist officers to board, and the suspect was swiftly removed.

The Ministry of Defence said the fighter was launched in their quick reaction alert role to investigate “a civilian aircraft whose pilot had requested assistance”.

“The aircraft was escorted to Manchester where it landed safely,” the ministry said in a statement. “This incident is now being handled by the civilian authorities.”

Qatar Airways said in a statement that the crew on the Airbus A330-300 received a “threat about a possible device on board” and immediately alerted British authorities. It did not clarify the nature of the threat or say how it was communicated.

Crew members were assisting police with the investigation, the carrier said, adding that it could not comment further because the matter is part of a police investigation.

* Agencies