| 6.5°C Dublin

Suspect in Shannon bomb scare held as passengers finally leave

The flight at the centre of Shannon Airport's bomb scare has been flown back to Amsterdam.

The more than 200 Dutch holidaymakers who had been on the Boeing 767 left Shannon for the Caribbean island of Aruba on a second plane last night.

The man accused of causing yesterday's scare remained in garda custody today after the packed Boeing made an emergency landing.

The plane was subsequently searched and given the all-clear.

It had been on its way from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport to Aruba when it was forced to divert to Shannon after the 44-year-old man alleged became unruly.

The captain had earlier issued a written warning to the man who had been "disruptive, abusive and aggressive" towards cabin crew.

Device

Shortly before 10am yesterday, the captain of Arkefly flight OR361 radioed air traffic controllers requesting permission to divert and land at Shannon.

The jet, carrying 231 passengers and 11 crew, had left Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport at 8.18am and was just an hour and a half into a 10-hour journey when the incident occurred.

Arkefly, a Schiphol-based charter airline, described the disruptive passenger as "very unstable".

It added that the man mentioned several times he had planted a bomb in the cockpit of the plane.

However, there was no indication that he tried to set off any sort of device during the flight.

No one was assaulted or injured during the disturbance.

When the man continued to refuse to obey directions from cabin crew, the captain was forced to divert to Shannon.

Airport police officers and gardai were alerted to the incident and were waiting for the aircraft when it landed.

The emergency came in the wake of an incident on Christmas Day when a 23-year-old Nigerian man, also travelling from Schiphol, attempted to detonate an explosive device on a plane.

Passengers and crew were about to land in Detroit in the US when the man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, tried to blow up the aircraft.

Evacuated

Yesterday, gardai and airport police officers boarded the plane and subdued the suspect.

The man was detained for alleged offences under the Air Navigation and Transport Act.

He was taken to Shannon garda station where he was held under Section 4 of Criminal Justice Act.

Gardai and airport security staff evacuated the aircraft before it was towed to a remote taxiway. The plane was flown back to Schiphol without its passengers at midnight.

Meanwhile, another plane arrived at Shannon at about 4.30pm yesterday and took the remaining passengers to Aruba shortly after 7pm.

While the holidaymakers were grounded, gardai took statements from crew members and passengers.

One passenger, who had surgery this month, collapsed in the terminal while waiting for the continuation of the flight and had to be taken to hospital.

Gardai were liaising with their Dutch counterparts to get more information on the suspect.

hnews@herald.ie


Privacy