Around 300 passengers ‘quarantined’ after plane diverted over reported bomb threat
Around 300 passengers were “quarantined” after two RAF Typhoon jets escorted their Air India flight to London Stansted Airport because of a reported bomb threat.
The Boeing 777 civilian aircraft was flying from Mumbai to Newark in the US when it made a precautionary landing at 10am on Thursday.
On landing, the passengers were taken off the aircraft by armed police as their luggage was checked by sniffer dogs before being held at a reception centre at the airport.
They were made to wait for a few hours while staff checked their boarding passes.
Essex Police said every passenger has been removed from the plane and investigations are ongoing.
One passenger, using the Twitter handle @DinoGoel, who posted a video on Twitter showing the police searching baggage, said around 300 passengers were caught in the disruption.
He said: “We are currently being taken to the airport terminal after being deplaned, frisked and checked by sniffer dogs.
“This has been a very good and safe experience. The local authorities in UK have been extremely respectful. We are now at a quarantined reception area at the Stansted Airport.”
He added: “We are all being brought safely to a holding area here inside the airport building. It’s a slow process because every passenger is being disembarked, frisked, all bags sniffed by dogs.
“Nothing in the aircraft. The flight departure from Mumbai itself was delayed by three hours, which is what most passengers are upset about. First the delayed departure and then this.”
This came after the two RAF jets were launched from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, causing a loud bang which was heard by residents of Derby just after 10am.
The sound was caused by a sonic boom when the jets scrambled to respond entered supersonic speed.
An RAF spokesman said: “The RAF can confirm Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft were launched this morning from RAF Coningsby to intercept a civilian aircraft.
“The aircraft was safely escorted to Stansted Airport. The Typhoon aircraft were authorised to transit at supersonic speed for operational reasons; any inconvenience caused to local residents is regretted.”