Friday 21 October 2016

British plane 'dodged missile above Sharm el-Sheikh that passed within 1,000 feet of the aircraft'

Thomson flight with 189 passengers on board had to avoid a military missile when landing at Sharm el-Sheikh airport just over two months ago, as it emerges US intercepted 'intelligence chatter' of Isil jihadis 'celebrating' downed Russian jet

Published 07/11/2015 | 07:09

Thomson Airways plane. File photo
Thomson Airways plane. File photo

A British jet packed with holidaymakers had to “evade” an Egyptian missile in what the Department for Transport described as an incident just over two months ago.

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According to one report, the missile came within 1,000 feet of a Thomson flight with 189 passengers on board.

Thomson said the incident was not a cause for concern, while the DfT said the flight was not the victim of a terrorist attack, adding that the incident was probably connected to routine exercises being carried out by the Egyptian military.

But given there are strict protocols designed to keep civilian aircraft away from such military exercises, it remained unclear how the Thomson flight found itself in that position.

Details of what appears to have been a near miss emerged as evidence mounted that the Russian Metrojet flight was brought down by a bomb.

Analysis of information on the flight data recorder – or black box – revealed there was an explosion 24 minutes into the flight.

 In addition, NBC reported that fresh intelligence had provided further evidence that terrorists were responsible for the Metrojet crash which killed 224 people.

What was described as “chatter” between Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leaders in Raqqa, Syria and jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula included a boast that they had taken down the aircraft.

Meanwhile in Sharm el-Sheikh, progress in bringing back British tourists was slow, with only eight of the 29 evacuation flights being allowed to land.

John Casson, Britain’s ambassador to Egypt, bore much of the frustration and anger voiced by UK holidaymakers who had been trapped at the Red Sea resort.

 Those who did get back spoke of chaotic scenes at Sharm el-Sheikh airport with some claiming that they had to pay bribes to avoid lengthy security queues.

More flights are due to arrive on Saturday to continue the evacuation of around 20,000 British tourists who have been trapped at Sharm el-Sheikh.

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