Manchester airport bomb scare: Passenger arrested after fighter jet escorts plane into land

Armed guards escort man in green T-shirt from plane following alleged threat

A man has been arrested on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat after a Qatar Airways plane was escorted by an RAF jet into Manchester Airport because of a "possible device" on board.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said the aircraft was accompanied by a fighter jet as it landed "as a result of information received by the pilot about a possible device".

The threat was allegedly made in a letter handed to a member of the crew and passed on to the pilot, who alerted air traffic control before the RAF jet was scrambled.

The aircraft was the Qatar Airways flight QR23 from Doha to Manchester and the RAF plane was a Typhoon from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.

The Airbus A330-300, which had 269 passengers and 13 crew on board, landed around 1.30pm in a remote part of the airport.

Passengers said on Twitter that armed police were outside the plane shortly afterwards and images later showed a man in a green T-shirt being escorted off the plane by armed guards.

People disembarked from the plane after the man was detained and it is understood that no bomb or suspicious device was found on board.

Flights in and out of Manchester Airport were disrupted by the incident as the runway was shut for 25 minutes but police said it was "business as usual" by 2pm.

Nine incoming flights had to be diverted to other airports, with five landing at Leeds Bradford airport.

“There are a few minor delays to outgoing flights but we're pretty much back to normal,” an airport spokesman said on Tuesday afternoon.

Footage from on board the plane and on the ground showed the Typhoon flying level with the passenger jet on its left side as it descended.

Chief Superintendent John O'Hare said the safety of those on board as well as those in and around the airport was his "paramount concern" in the police operation.

The flight was number QR023 from Doha and circled twice around the south of the Peak District before approaching the airport, flight data showed.

A passenger, Josh Hartley, tweeted pictures and a video of the RAF plane flying alongside the aircraft, writing: "Okay no [sic] I am worried."

Shortly before 1.30pm, he wrote: "Landed dunno what the f*** is happening."

He appeared to only learn about the possible device on the plane from tweets sent by media outlets.

"We were not told anything," he told the BBC as he waited on the plane.

"We got nothing from [the cabin crew] whatsoever. We had no contact and no information apart from what we saw on Twitter."

Asked how passengers had reacted to seeing the fighter jet alongside the plane he said: "It think it was pretty calm all the way through but I think some people were shaken up."

Paul Bell, who was on his way to the airport in a taxi, told Sky News that he saw the RAF Typhoon meet the passenger plane.

He said: "We heard the fighter jet circling over Stockport, and literally 10 minutes later we saw the plane coming in being followed by it.

"We saw the [RAF Typhoon] coming in, literally flying around the aeroplane.

"It then pinged up on the sat nav that the airport is on lock-down."

Manchester Police said it was "business as usual" for other flights at the airport by 2pm due to a swift response.

The plane was parked at remote location at Manchester airport The plane was parked at remote location at Manchester airport

Authorities had followed "standard procedure" in dealing with a possible threat, according David Kaminski-Morrow, the air transport editor of Flightglobal magazine.

He said: "In situations like these, the plan is always to get the aircraft down at the nearest available landing site.

"It could be that a threat could have been phoned in and passed on to the captain. It could be that someone on board has spotted something.

"In any event, no one wants to take any chances."

An RAF spokesman said the incident was handled by civilian authorities after the safe landing of the plane.

He added: "We can confirm that Typhoon aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby in their quick reaction alert role this afternoon to investigate a civilian aircraft whose pilot had requested assistance."

Qatar Airways issued a statement confirming that flight QR23 from Doha to Manchester landed after its scheduled arrival time of 1.15pm.

It continued: "There were 269 passengers and 13 Qatar Airways crew on board. The crew onboard had received a threat about a possible device on board and Qatar Airways immediately took all the necessary precautions to alert British authorities.

"The crew is now fully assisting police at the airport with their inquiries.  The safety and well-being of our passengers and crew is our top priority. As this is a matter of a police investigation, we cannot comment further at this time. "

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee