Bomb threat plane diverted to Stansted

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The Independent Online

A bomb threat that forced a plane to divert to Stansted Airport was a hoax, police confirmed today.

A bomb threat that forced a plane to divert to Stansted Airport was a hoax, police confirmed today.

The Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340, en route to Heathrow from Hong Kong, landed at the Essex Airport after police received a telephone call warning of a bomb on board.

The call was made to a British police force, which alerted the Metropolitan Police at 5am this morning.

The plane landed safely at 5.24am and the 214 passengers and 18 crew members were evacuated.

Specialist teams carried out a detailed search of the plane but Essex Police confirmed the incident was a hoax.

A spokesman said: "Essex Police are now satisfied that the incident was a hoax."

Passengers were questioned by police before being transported to Heathrow by bus.

Chief Superintendent Sue Harrison of Essex Police said an investigation would be launched to find out who made the call and bring them before the courts.

"We never treat threats of this nature as routine. We take it seriously and we have tried and tested procedures to deal with it.

"We do not want people to make hoax calls. They need to be dealt with firmly and brought before the courts.

The security alert is the latest in a number of incidents in which planes have been diverted as a result of threats which have turned out to be hoaxes.