Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bomb hoax holds Emirates flight at Heathrow

10 Jan 2010, The Gulf Today

Three Dubai-bound passengers were arrested aboard an Emirates Airlines flight over an alleged bomb threat at London's Heathrow airport, late on Friday, the carrier's officials confirmed in Dubai.
On suspicion of issuing a bomb threat, armed British Police officers had the three British men ejected off the Dubai national carrier's flight that was about to depart for Dubai on Friday evening. The suspects made a "verbal threat" to flight crew, news agency AP has reported.
Crew alert police
A spokesperson of the Emirates Airlines told The Gulf Today that the flight EK004 prepared to depart London Heathrow for Dubai on Friday evening. Following the remarks by the suspected passengers, the crew alerted the Metropolitan Police who subsequently boarded the aircraft and detained three passengers.
According to the London's Metropolitan Police Service, they were alerted after the threat was made at around 9.15pm UK time on Friday.
English and drunk
It said in a statement that the three suspects under custody were men aged 58, 48 and 36 years.
Meanwhile, a news story aired on Sky News television said that the men arrested were English and appeared to be drunk.
"The flight had 331 passengers onboard. All the passengers were subsequently disembarked safely as the London Police undertook security precautions," said the Emirates official.
"Due to operational restrictions, the flight has been rescheduled to depart from London at 3pm local time (15.00 Hours GMT). The flight was expected to land in Dubai after six hours of its departure at Heathrow airport," added the spokesperson.
According to the official, the Emirates has provided overnight hotel accommodation and other conveniences for the affected passengers. The safety and security of all our passengers is paramount.
The Emirates Airlines also apologised for the inconvenience faced by its passengers bound for Dubai.
A false alarm
"The Emirates Airbus plane was standing on the Southern runway at the Heathrow Airport, after the armed Police boarded the aircraft in response to the perceived security threat. The passengers had been removed from the plane and the aircraft was being searched, but had found no hazardous material," the AP report said.
A passenger told the news agency that the police officers brandishing guns in body armour burst onto the plane and hauled the suspects away.
The Sky News television broadcast a grainy picture photograph purportedly taken inside the aircraft. The supplied picture showed Police in black overalls.
Another passenger Cameron McLean was also quoted as saying that the some special Police just came on the plane and arrested the guys a few rows in front of him. The police just swarmed and rushed the white males out.
However, the airport remained open. The incident over security had only affected the Dubai-bound plane. The Heathrow airport in London is one of the busiest air hubs in the world. The alert at the airport came amid tightened security measures at airports across the world, following an alleged attempt by a young Nigerian to bomb a plane landing in Detroit on Christmas Day by concealing explosives in his underwear.

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