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EasyJet flight escorted by SASF F-18 after bomb threat

written by Hannah Dowling | July 6, 2022

An EasyJet Airbus A319-100 at Zurich International Airport (Wikicommons/BriYYZ)

An EasyJet flight travelling from London to Menorca in Spain was escorted to its destination by a Spanish F-18 fighter jet after a teenager allegedly made a false threat about a bomb onboard the aircraft.

Flight EZY8303 took off from London Gatwick airport at 1:13pm local time on Sunday to begin its journey to Menorca — one of Spain’s Balearic Islands.

Police confirmed on Monday that the flight was later met by a Spanish Air and Space Force (SASF) F/A-18 Hornet fighter, about two hours into the flight, after a British teenager onboard the flight was found to have made a bomb threat via social media.

Footage of the fighter escort shows the Hornet dip its wings to the Airbus A319 aircraft, signalling to the aircrew to follow the jet to safety.

The plane landed safely at its destination about 40 minutes later, and was escorted to a high-security area.

The 18-year-old suspect, who was travelling with five friends at the time, was arrested by local police upon landing.

Meanwhile, the Spanish Civil Guard said the remaining passengers were asked to disembark the aircraft one at a time, and identify their luggage. Luggage was then inspected by sniffer dogs and “bomb disposal experts”.

“The Civil Guard has arrested an 18-year-old British national as the alleged author of a crime of public disorder in Mahon in Menorca,” a spokesperson said.

“The control tower at Menorca Airport was alerted to a bomb threat on a plane heading from London to the island capital Mahon which was still in the air and nearing the airport. The threat was said to have been sent on a social media platform.

“The passengers were disembarked and established protocol followed until police were able to confirm it was a false bomb threat and the person responsible was identified on social media along with five other companions as witnesses,” they added.

“They were taken to a police station so officers could clarify the situation.”

A Ryanair flight from Menorca to London was delayed due to the extended disembarkation of EZY8303, however no other flights to or from the airport were impacted.

An EasyJet spokesman said: “Flight EZY8303 from London Gatwick to Menorca was escorted by military aircraft while landing in Menorca and delayed disembarking due to precautionary security checks.

“The safety and security of its passengers and crew is always EasyJet’s highest priority and we would like to thank passengers for their understanding.”


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