Passenger charged over Heathrow bomb threat

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The Independent Online

An air passenger has been charged with making a bomb threat that grounded a packed jet at Heathrow Airport, police said.

Robert Fowles, 58, from Dover, Kent, is accused of making a bomb hoax and being drunk on the Dubai-bound Emirates flight on Friday night, the Metropolitan Police said.

Another man on the plane, Alexander McGinn, 48, also from Dover, has also been charged with being drunk on an aircraft.

Armed police boarded the Boeing 777 around 9.15pm on Friday as it was taxiing for take off after some remarks made to cabin crew prompted them to alert the authorities.

Fowles, who lives in Edred Road, Dover, will appear from custody at Westminster Magistrates Court tomorrow.

His charges in detail are making a bomb hoax/communicate false information contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977 and being drunk on an aircraft contrary to the Civil Aviation Act 1982.

McGinn, of Lowther Road, has been bailed and will appear at the same court on January 22. He is also charged with being drunk on an aircraft contrary to the Civil Aviation Act 1982.

A third passenger on board the plane who was arrested at the time - a man aged 36 - was released without charge, police said.

More than 330 passengers were on the flight at the time of the alert.

They had to leave the aircraft while officers carried out a search.

Police later said they did not find any dangerous substances aboard.

Emirates arranged hotel accommodation for stranded travellers overnight and they were allowed to depart on the aircraft yesterday.

The incident came amid heightened tension at airports across the world in the wake of the botched Christmas Day bombing.

Extra bag checks, body searches and on-board regulations have seen travellers in London wait up to three hours before taking off.