Friday 22 November 2019

Man charged over mid-air bomb threat

Gordon Deegan

A MAN was charged yesterday with causing a mid-air bomb scare on board a transatlantic jet.

At Shannon District Court sitting in Ennis, Co Clare, yesterday, Dutch national Jorge Flores (44) was charged with stating that he had a bomb on board an Aruba-bound Boeing 767 flight carrying 231 passengers from Amsterdam on Wednesday.

In response to the alleged bomb scare, the captain of the chartered holiday flight diverted to Shannon airport and landed at 10.30am, where Mr Flores was immediately arrested.

Flores is also accused of knowingly making a false alarm on the flight by stating that he had a bomb.

The court heard that Mr Flores made no reply when charged and cautioned.

In court, Inspector Tom Kennedy said that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) was to consider the case further and determine if further charges would result.

Insp Kennedy said that remand would allow gardai further time to inquire about Mr Flores with the Dutch authorities.

Insp Kennedy said that he would be in a better position at the Ennis court sitting to know what may happen with further charges.

Judge Joseph Mangan asked: "Will the case go further than this court?" Insp Kennedy replied: "That is unclear."

Judge Mangan granted legal aid to Mr Flores.

His solicitor, Jenny Fitzgibbon, said that she would be reserving her position about bail to Ennis District Court today.


Mr Flores required the presence of an interpreter, who told the court that Mr Flores wished to address the court, but did not do so after consulting Ms Fitzgibbon.

Judge Mangan remanded Mr Flores in custody to re-appear before Ennis District Court today.

Mr Flores was travelling by himself to the Caribbean island of Aruba off the coast of Venezuela on the flight operated by charter firm, Arkefly.

The bomb scare sparked a major security alert at Shannon airport, where the plane was taxied to an isolated part of the airfield as a precaution.

A garda search of the airplane, after the expiry of the flight time to Aruba at 8.15pm on Wednesday, found no device.

The Dutch holidaymakers continued their journey to Aruba after Arkefly flew in a replacement aircraft.

A spokeswoman for Arkefly said that there was no panic among passengers on board the flight and the atmosphere was calm in response to the alleged bomb scare.

The spokeswoman confirmed that Arkefly is to pursue the individual who made the alleged bomb scare for "substantial costs" in having the original plane diverted and flying in a replacement plane.

Irish Independent

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