A PASSENGER has been arrested on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat after an emergency landing at Manchester Airport.
Fears were initially raised over "a possible device on board" by the pilot on board flight QR23 from Doha, Qatar, as it approached the airport.
Dramatic video footage and photos showed an RAF jet accompanying the Qatar Airways Airbus A330 as it made its descent, while passengers reported a man being removed from the plane after it landed safely.
Less than hour after the first reports, Greater Manchester Police confirmed the arrest was related to a suspected hoax.
Witnesses reported seeing the plane being escorted by fighter jets as it came in to land.
Police initially said the actions were the result of an alert over a possible "device" on board.
It is understood armed police were waiting at the airport when the plane landed, and the area has been evacuated.
The plane landed safely and was searched, but nothing untoward was found.
Ch Superintendent John O’Hare said: “An incoming plane has been escorted into the airport by the Royal Air Force as a result of information received by the pilot about a possible device on board.
“We don’t know how genuine this threat is but it is absolutely vital we deal with the situation as a full emergency.
“As a result people will see the police and other agencies at the airport and on the airfield.
“At this time I would urge them not to be alarmed.
"Our response will be as comprehensive as it is proportionate with the safety of those on board and in and around the airport our paramount concern.”
He later issued a statements saying: "Today’s incident at the Manchester Airport has received widespread coverage and interest so it is right we update everybody.
“We can confirm the incident is over and it’s business as usual at the airport.
“The incident arose when the pilot received information about a possible device on board the plane having been handed a note from a passenger.
"As a result a full emergency activation commenced that involved the aircraft being escorted in by the RAF before specialist officers boarded and subsequently made an arrest.
"A 47-year-old man from the North West has been arrested on suspicion of making a bomb hoax and remains in police custody for questioning.
“A full search of the aircraft has now finished and nothing suspicious was found.”
The airline said in a statement: "Qatar Airways can confirm that flight QR23 from Doha to Manchester, an Airbus A330-300, landed safely at Manchester Airport ahead of its scheduled arrival time of 1315.
"There were 269 passengers and 13 Qatar Airways crew on board.
"The crew on-board had received a threat about a possible device on board and Qatar Airways immediately took all the necessary precautions to alert British authorities.
"The crew is now fully assisting police at the airport with their inquiries. The safety and well-being of our passengers and crew is our top priority.
"As this is a matter of a police investigation, we cannot comment further at this time."
Manchester Airport said nine incoming flights had to be diverted to other airports including Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Leeds Bradford airport.
The spokesman said the airport reopened after 25 minutes.
An RAF spokesman said: "We can confirm that Typhoon aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby in their quick reaction alert role to investigate a civilian aircraft whose pilot had requested assistance.
"The aircraft was escorted to Manchester where it landed safely. This incident is now being handled by the civilian authorities."
- Do you know anyone who was on the plane? Contact us: 01204 537270 or firstname.lastname@example.org