This morning, Aug. 5, Qatar Airways flight QR023, with 269 passengers, and 13 crew members was “escorted” by two military fighter jets to make an emergency landing at Manchester Airport after the pilot sent a radio transmission suggesting that a possible bomb threat was on board.
The video of the fighter jet escorting the plane to land was tweeted by Josh Hartley, “Being escorted in.” After Hartley had time to process what was really happening he wrote, “Okay no I am worried.”
After the plane landed safely, emergency crews and armed police stormed the plane to arrest the man suspected of smuggling a bomb device onto flight QR023. Passengers tweeted photos afterwards that showed armed forces waiting for the plane. A man wearing a green shirt was handcuffed and walked off the plane by armed police. According to reports no evidence was found of a bomb-like device. No further details have been given about the man arrested.
According to the Northern Editor of the Guardian, Helen Pidd, police told her, “on a sliding scale, we think we’re looking at an idiot rather than an international terrorist.” So far, news reports indicate this suspected bomb threat was a hoax, and Manchester Airport had to reroute nine planes to other airports. The Greater Manchester Police tweeted, “A man who was onboard the plane @manairport has been arrested on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat.”
Hoax or no hoax, the passengers on board the jet that was forced to land at Manchester Airport by the Royal Air Force were still shaken after the emergency situation. Although GMP got the call without confirmation they said in a statement that regardless if the threat is true, “it is vital” that they continue to handle the issue as if it were real.
Thankfully all passengers were safely taken off the plane, the idea had many passengers panicking. After passengers from flight QR023 were cleared to leave the plane and find other means of travel, Hartley said he was “Still kinda shaking.”