Qatar Airways Flight QR23 passenger arrested after alleged hoax bomb threat
'Absolutely vital that we deal with the situation as a full emergency,' police statement says
Police arrested a 47-year-old man aboard a Qatar Airways plane on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat Tuesday, following a warning to the pilot of a possible device on the aircraft.
Greater Manchester Police arrested the man after the plane, which was escorted by British fighter jets, safely landed at Manchester Airport.
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- Read Qatar Airways' statement on Flight QR23
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British armed police took the passenger off the plane shortly after it landed.
Police searched the plane, Flight QR23, and found nothing.
"An incoming plane has been escorted into the airport by the Royal Air Force as a result of information received by the pilot about a possible device on board," Chief Supt. John O'Hare said in a statement.
"We don't know how genuine this threat is but it is absolutely vital we deal with the situation as a full emergency," he added.
The plane was a Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Manchester, carrying 269 passengers and 13 crew members, according to a statement from the airline.
The crew received a threat about a possible device on the plane, and Qatar Airways alerted U.K. authorities.
"The crew is now fully assisting police at the airport with their inquiries," read the airline's statement. "The safety and well-being of our passengers and crew is our top priority."
The runway was briefly closed. The Ministry of Defense said the Royal Air fighthter jets were launched 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."
The airline will not comment further, as police are investigating.
With files from Reuters