Five seek asylum after threat diverts flight to UK

 

Five passengers from a flight that was forced to make an emergency landing in Scotland after the discovery of a threat to start a fire on board are now claiming asylum in Britain, police have revealed.

The Egypt Air Boeing 777 was on its way to New York’s JFK airport after taking off in Cairo when it was rerouted to Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire after the security scare. The diversion happened on Saturday after a passenger found a note in the toilet reading: “I’ll set this plane on fire.”

The aircraft was allowed to continue on its journey to the US on Sunday morning after an overnight police search found no suspicious items.

But before taking off again a spokeswoman for Police Scotland said five of the plane’s passengers, who are understood to be Syrian, had sought asylum in Britain. They are now being dealt with by the UK Border Agency while police continue to investigate the circumstances of the incident.

After the discovery of the threatening note the Egypt Air flight was escorted to Prestwick by Typhoon fighters from RAF Leuchars.

The aircraft landed at about 2.30pm on Saturday and was met by a large number of police officers. It took six hours before all 326 people on board were removed from the plane to be interviewed by police.

The note was found by Nada Tafik, who works for the BBC. Ms Tafik told the Corporation: “When I went in to change my daughter about three hours into the flight, I found a note by the sink saying ‘I set this plane on fire’ with the seat number 46D written on it. So I immediately went to the crew and told them about it.

“It was on a hand napkin written in pencil and the pencil was actually still there so I told the crew to make sure to keep it so they can get any fingerprints off of it. They locked the bathroom immediately so that no one could go into it.”

Ms Tafif added: “It almost looked like a child’s handwriting or someone who has very sloppy handwriting, but it was very alarming, especially these days when everyone is so concerned about safety on flights.”

Iain Cochrane, chief executive of  Glasgow Prestwick, said: “We carefully plan and train for this kind of eventuality and I am relieved it ended safely and without incident.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific