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3 held for Heathrow plane bomb threat

world Updated: Jan 10, 2010 01:12 IST
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Three men have been arrested on suspicion of making a bomb threat on a plane as it readied for take-off at Heathrow airport.

Armed counter-terrorist officers boarded the Dubai-bound Emirates flight last night after a “verbal threat” was made to air crew at 9.15pm.

The Metropolitan police said the three men, aged 58, 48 and 36, were in custody. It is thought they were all British men travelling in economy class.

One passenger said she saw armed police board the flight and take a man off in handcuffs.

Cameron McLean told Sky News: “Police just swarmed the guy and rushed him out. I think he was white ... There was another one but I didn’t see him.”

Police on Saturday released the plane with 331 passengers to the airline after finding no dangerous items.

A statement from the airline said: “Following remarks made as Emirates flight EK004 prepared to depart London Heathrow for Dubai (yesterday) evening, crew alerted the Metropolitan police who subsequently boarded the aircraft and detained three passengers.

“The safety and security of all our passengers is paramount. Police are currently assessing the situation and we apologise for the inconvenience ...”

The incident comes amid heightened tension at airports across globe in the wake of the botched bombing of a US-bound airliner on Christmas Day.

Unruly passengers disrupt 2 flights

Denver (US): Disruptive passengers caused two commercial airplanes to be diverted Friday, with military jets scrambling to escort a San Francisco-bound flight into a Colorado airport, authorities said.

Two F-16s were launched to catch up with AirTran Airways Flight 39 from Atlanta to San Francisco after a report that an intoxicated passenger had locked himself in a bathroom, the Colorado-based North American Aerospace Defense Command said.

The jets arrived over Colorado Springs Airport as the captain — who AirTran said had decided to divert the plane — landed there around noon, NORAD spokeswoman Stacey Knott said.

Colorado Springs police detained the passenger, who allegedly refused to follow flight instructions and locked himself in a lavatory. Canine teams searched the airplane, and the flight was cleared to continue to San Francisco.

Muhammad Abu Tahir, 46, of Virginia, was being held at the El Paso County jail, the FBI said. Federal charges for interference with a flight crew were expected to be filed Monday.

Also Friday, a Hawaii-bound flight had to change course and land in Los Angeles after a man was accused of harassing a woman. The man was removed from the jet. The man was interviewed and released after the woman declined to press charges, Los Angeles airport police said.

AP