Bomb threat drama at airport

A FULL scale terror emergency operation was mounted at Stansted Airport last night after a Spanish passenger made a hoax bomb threat on board a Ryanair flight.

A FULL scale terror emergency operation was mounted at Stansted Airport last night after a Spanish passenger made a hoax bomb threat on board a Ryanair flight.

All 132 terrified passengers and crew were evacuated from the plane shortly before it was due to fly to Reus in Spain around 6pm last night.

The plane was on its way to a holding position on the Essex airport runway when cabin crew heard a Spanish passenger say he had explosives on board.

The aircraft was taken to Stansted's special safe area, used for suspected hijackings.

Emergency services upgraded the incident to an "act of aggression" as Essex Police sealed off the area and fire crews from across the county were mobilised in case of an explosion.

Passengers were evacuated while officers carried out a detailed search of the plane, which lasted up to two hours.

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Detectives were last night quizzing a 36-year-old Spanish man at Harlow police station on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat.

It is believed the man had been joking to a friend when he allegedly made the hoax threat.

The budget airline flight eventually left for Spain with the rest of its passengers shortly before 9pm.

A spokesman for Stansted Airport said last night: "When someone makes an act of aggression we are obliged to follow these rules.

"The priority is to make sure everyone is safe and allow for adequate safety checks."

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "A 36-year-old Spanish man was arrested on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat.

"A search of the plane was conducted to the satisfaction that there was no threat to the safety of passengers."

An Essex Fire Service spokeswoman said: "The situation was upgraded to an act of aggression, but later put down to civil disruption on an aircraft."

Ryanair could not be contacted for comment last night.

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