- Our Town
UK: Man arrested on suspicion of bomb hoax
By Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
LONDON - British police arrested a man Tuesday on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat aboard a Qatar Airways plane bound for Britain, following a warning to the pilot of a possible device on the aircraft.
Royal Air Force fighter jets escorted Qatar Airways Flight 23, carrying 269 passengers and 13 crew on a flight from Doha, Qatar, to a safe landing at Manchester Airport, the flight's original destination.
Greater Manchester Police had been dealing with the incident as a full emergency, and the runway was briefly closed. 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. It said that it could not comment further because the matter is part of a police investigation.
Adam Schreck in Doha, Qatar contributed to this story.