EasyJet plane escorted by fighter jet to Menorca over security fears

·2-min read
 (via REUTERS)

An easyJet flight to Menorca was given a Spanish fighter plane escort because an 18-year-old British holidaymaker had allegedly made a bomb threat on board, it emerged on Monday.

He was last night facing a potential bill running into the thousands after being arrested by police after the plane touched down and specialist officers and sniffer dogs boarded to check out the aircraft.

The youngster is believed to have been part of a group of friends who had travelled to the Mediterranean holiday island for a celebration.

The alarm was sounded as the easyJet plane - flight EZY8303 - was near to landing just before 5pm on Sunday.

Video footage showed it being escorted by a Spanish Airforce F18 fighter jet before it reached its destination.

A spokesman for the Civil Guard confirmed on Monday: “The Civil Guard has arrested an 18-year-old British national as the alleged author of a crime of public disorder in Mahon in Menorca.

“Sunday the control tower at Menorca Airport was alerted to a bomb threat on a plane heading from London to the island capital Mahon which was still in the air and nearing the airport.

“The threat was said to have been sent on a social media platform. Once the plane landed it was taken to an area away from the main terminal and other aircraft.

“The Civil Guard organised a special operation which consisted of mobilising bomb disposal experts as well as sniffer dogs and other officers who created a safe perimeter around the plane.

“The passengers were disembarked and established protocol followed until police were able to confirm it was a false bomb threat and the person responsible was identified on social media along with five other companions as witnesses.

“They were taken to a police station so officers could clarify the situation.”

It was not immediately clear on Monday if the unnamed teenager has already appeared before a judge in a closed court hearing and where he is now.

He is expected to face a large compensation bill which could include the costs of the police operation and the scrambling of the military jet.

Police sources confirmed he was likely to have to pick up the tab for the police operation if he were convicted.

Passengers were reportedly kept on the tarmac for four hours while the plane was checked out.

An Easyjet spokesman said all passengers had since disembarked, adding: “The safety and security of passengers and crew is always easyJet’s highest priority and we would like to thank passengers for their understanding.”

The plane is understood to have touched down around half an hour late at 4.45pm local time on Sunday. The incident reportedly led to a Ryanair plane leaving two and half hours late to London.

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