A picture taken from the new Air Traffic Control tower shows Manchester Airport, northwest England, on June 25, 2013
A picture taken from the new Air Traffic Control tower shows Manchester Airport, northwest England, on June 25, 2013 © Paul Ellis - AFP
A picture taken from the new Air Traffic Control tower shows Manchester Airport, northwest England, on June 25, 2013
AFP
Last updated: August 6, 2014

Man held over bomb hoax on Qatar-UK flight

A man arrested over a suspected bomb hoax on a Manchester-bound Qatar Airways flight has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, police said Wednesday.

The 47-year-old from northwest England had been detained by armed officers who met flight QR23 from Doha when it arrived at Manchester Airport on Tuesday, escorted by a Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon fighter jet.

Greater Manchester Police said that the man had now been sectioned.

"Following his arrest he was assessed by medical staff and again by a mental health team," a spokesman said.

"He was subsequently sectioned to allow for a fuller assessment and appropriate treatment."

Witnesses on board the flight, which had 282 people on board, said armed police entered the aircraft and escorted the suspect off with his hands on his head.

Police said the incident arose when the pilot received information about a possible device on board the plane, having been handed a note from a passenger.

They later said a full search of the aircraft had been undertaken and nothing suspicious was found.

Passenger Aurang Zeb, 60, said: "I saw all the police with guns. Lots of police everywhere.

"Kids were crying, some people looked very worried because of rumours there's a bomb on the plane."

He said two armed police officers came on board and removed the suspect passenger, adding: "They sat him up and said, 'Put your hands up'. He did not say anything."

Qatar Airways said there were 269 passengers and 13 crew aboard the Airbus A330-300 plane.

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

"The crew is now fully assisting police at the airport with their inquiries."

An RAF spokesman said: "We can confirm that Typhoon aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby in their quick reaction alert role this afternoon to investigate a civilian aircraft whose pilot had requested assistance.

"The aircraft was escorted to Manchester where it landed safely."

Manchester Airport said nine incoming flights had been diverted to other destinations, five of them to Leeds Bradford Airport, 40 miles (70 kilometres) away.

The airport soon resumed business as usual.

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