Plane Scare: Man Held Over Hoax Bomb Threat

Manchester Police have arrested a man on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat after a plane was escorted into the city's airport by an RAF fighter jet.

The emergency came when the pilot of Qatar Airways flight QR23 from Doha to Manchester reported concerns about a possible device.

Josh Hartley, who boarded the plane at Doha, said: "The flight was pretty calm all the way through, but some people are shaken up, quite a few. It was scary."

The alarm is thought to have been raised when a passenger passed a note to a member of the cabin crew.

The message is understood to have been passed on to the captain, who alerted air traffic control - prompting the quick reaction alert Typhoon to be scrambled.

Passenger Aurang Zeb, 60, said the plane landed and was taken to an area well away from the terminal and other planes, where they waited for 45 minutes before moving closer to the terminal.

He said: "Then I saw all the police with guns. Lots of police everywhere.

"Kids were crying, some people looked very worried because of rumours there's a bomb on the plane."

Mr Zeb said two armed police then came on and removed the suspect passenger.

He said: "They sat him up and said, 'Put your hands up'. He did not say anything.

"People were still worried something might be on board.

"There was a rumour of a bomb on the plane so people are scared, thank God for that not happening."

In a statement Qatar Airways said the plane was an Airbus A330-300 with 269 passengers and 13 Qatar Airways crew on board.

The airline said: "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."

Greater Manchester Police said a full search of the aircraft had been carried out and nothing suspicious had been found.

Chief Superintendent John O'Hare said: "The incident arose when the pilot received information about a possible device on board the plane having been handed a note from a passenger.

"As a result a full emergency activation commenced that involved the aircraft being escorted in by the RAF before specialist officers boarded and subsequently made an arrest.

"A 47-year-old man from the North West has been arrested on suspicion of making a bomb hoax and remains in police custody for questioning."

Paul Bell, who was heading for a holiday flight, told Sky News his family saw the drama unfold as they were heading to the airport.

"We heard the fighter jet circling over Stockport and about 10 minutes later we saw the aircraft coming in.

"It was literally looping round the aeroplane."

Manchester Airport said nine incoming flights had to be diverted to other airports, with five of these landing at Leeds Bradford airport.

"There are a few minor delays to outgoing flights but we're pretty much back to normal," said an airport spokesman.

An RAF spokesman said: "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."

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