Police quiz man over 'bomb hoax' on Qatar Airways plane

Qatar Airlines plane landed Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Nine incoming flights were diverted to other airports

Police are continuing to question a man on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat after RAF jets were scrambled to escort a passenger plane to Manchester Airport.

Flights were suspended as an RAF Typhoon escorted the Qatar Airways plane, flight QR23, on Tuesday.

Police said the pilot requested assistance after being handed a note about a possible device on board.

Armed officers boarded the plane, from Doha, and arrested a 47-year-old man.

Image copyright Reuters/Andrew Yates
Image caption Armed officers boarded the plane and escorted a passenger onto the runway

Greater Manchester Police said the arrested man, who remains in custody, comes from the North West area.

The plane involved was an Airbus A330-30, with 269 passengers and 13 Qatar Airways crew on board. The airline said it landed ahead of its scheduled arrival time of 13:15 BST.

In a statement it said: "The crew on board had received a threat about a possible device and Qatar Airways immediately took all the necessary precautions to alert British authorities."

Operations at the airport resumed at about 14:00 BST, and passengers disembarked the aircraft "as normal", an airport spokesman said.

Nine incoming flights were diverted to other airports, with five landing at Leeds Bradford International Airport.

The RAF confirmed Typhoon aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire as part of its "quick reaction alert role" when a pilot requested assistance.

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Media captionQatar Airways passenger Josh Hartley filmed the RAF jet from the plane

Josh Hartley, who boarded the plane at Doha in Qatar, said: "When the escort came it was very scary - I'm pretty shook up now."

Aviation expert Chris Yates said information for passengers was kept minimal for a number of reasons.

He said: "This would be to create an air of calm on board the plane for all of the passengers and also not to communicate anything to anyone involved in making a threat or anyone who might be associated with that person."

Image copyright Matthew Cox
Image caption Police, reportedly armed with Tasers, escorted a man off the plane
Image copyright Matthew Cossar
Image caption An RAF jet escorted the Qatar Airways plane flying to Manchester from Doha

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