The Midlands saw mid-air drama yesterday evening (Sunday, August 30), as a Ryanair flight was intercepted by RAF jets after reports of a “security threat”.
Typhoon jets were scrambled to meet the aircraft high in the sky, as it flew from Vienna, Austria, to London Stansted Airport.
And later, those jets were seen refuelling over Solihull, as they returned to base at RAF Coningsby after helping to bring passengers and the crew safely down in the capital.
According to BirminghamLive, the security incident on board turned out to be a false alarm over a ‘suspicious device’ in the toilets, police have confirmed.
As the plane landed in a remote area of Stansted at around 7.20pm, armed counter terrorism officers surrounded the aircraft to detain two men under the Terrorism Act.
Fortunately, an examination by specialist officers found the object was nothing of concern. Neither of the men were found to have committed any offences, police added.
A spokesman for Eastern Region Special Operations Unit Officers confirmed the force had concluded their enquiries.
The statement read: “Following reports of a suspicious device in the bathroom of a plane arriving from Vienna, Austria, shortly after 7pm, Counter Terrorism Policing officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) detained two men under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act (2000).
“After examination by specialist investigators, the object was found not to be of concern. Officers spoke with the two men and neither were considered to have committed any offences.”
Detective Superintendent Andy Waldie, head of ERSOU’s Counter Terrorism Policing unit, added: “We understandably take any reports of suspicious objects or behaviour on flights very seriously and thankfully on this occasion there was no cause for concern.
“I’d like to thank those on the flight for their cooperation and understanding while officers conducted their enquiries.”
The captain had informed the police following what was treated as a potential security threat on board the plane.
The RAF planes escorted the plane until it landed safely at London Stansted Airport – where passengers disembarked.
Those waiting to depart to Vienna were transferred to a spare aircraft to help reduce delays, Ryanair said.
A statement from the airline read: “The crew of a Ryanair flight from Vienna to London Stansted yesterday evening (30 Aug) alerted of a potential security threat on board.
“In line with procedures, the captain informed UK authorities and continued to London Stansted, where the aircraft landed normally and taxied to a remote stand where passengers disembarked safely.
“Passengers in London Stansted waiting to depart to Vienna were transferred to a spare aircraft to minimise the delay to their flight.
“This is now a matter for the local police.”
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