A passenger on a plane which landed at Manchester Airport with an RAF Typhoon escort has been arrested on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat.
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.
Manchester United's trip home from their pre-season tour of the US was briefly diverted by the incident.
After winning the final of the International Challenge Cup with a 3-1 victory over Liverpool in Miami, Florida, United's were flying back today and their plane was in the final stretch of the journey back when the security threat started.
Thankfully, things returned to normal after the short delay and United's plane landed.
Home sweet home. Miami to Manchester complete. #mufc have arrived back in the UK.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 5, 2014
Police say they have arrested a man on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat.
A man who was onboard the plane at @manairport has been arrested on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat.— Greater Manchester Police (@gmpolice) August 5, 2014
Qatar Airways said 269 passengers were on board.
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.”
Passengers now being allowed off the plane at @manairport. One passenger still with officers and incident still being dealt with.— Greater Manchester Police (@gmpolice) August 5, 2014
A passenger has been taken off the plane, Greater Manchester Police said.
A passenger on the plane said he watched as armed police officers escorted a passenger off it.
Josh Hartley, who boarded the plane at Doha in Qatar, said passengers remain on the plane, with some feeling “shaken up”.
He told BBC: “The flight was pretty calm all the way through, but some people are shaken up, quite a few. It was scary.
“One guy has been escorted off the plane already but we’re still on it. We’ve heard nothing yet.
“We’ve had no information all the way through this.”
Speaking of the moment he became aware of the RAF Typhoon following the plane, he said: “I thought it was just a one off thing, then I realised it had stayed for four or five minutes.
“I was thinking of the possibilities.”
A Manchester Airport spokesman said flights has been suspended for around 25 minutes but that normal services had resumed at around 2pm.
“There may be some delays but we are anticipating too many problems,” he added.
A passenger has been taken off the plane by officers at @manairport. We will work to get others off as swiftly and safely as possible.— Greater Manchester Police (@gmpolice) August 5, 2014
An RAF spokesman said later that the plane had landed safely and the incident was being handled by civilian authorities.
He said: “We can confirm that Typhoon aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby in their quick reaction alert role this afternoon 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.”
It's now business as usual at @manairport due to swift partnership response. Police still dealing with the matter as an isolated incident.— Greater Manchester Police (@gmpolice) August 5, 2014
Our statement in relation to ongoing incident at Manchester Airport. http://t.co/WDVSLyieYW— Greater Manchester Police (@gmpolice) August 5, 2014
The incoming plane has been escorted by the RAF "as a result of information received by the pilot about a possible device on board", Greater Manchester Police said.
It is thought that the plane involved was a Qatar Airways Airbus A330 and that the RAF plane was a Typhoon from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.
Chief 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.”
While flight QR23 sits at the end of the runway at Manchester Airport, far away from everything pic.twitter.com/zm3Aw1viti— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) August 5, 2014
Witness Paul Bell, who was on his way to the airport in a taxi, told Sky News that he saw the RAF Typhoon meet the passenger plane.
He said: “We heard the fighter jet circling over Stockport, and literally 10 minutes later we saw the plane coming in being followed by it.
“We saw the (RAF Typhoon) coming in, literally flying around the aeroplane.
“It then pinged up on the sat nav that the airport is on lock-down.
“There are lots of people hanging around, checking their phones. We’re stuck in a massive traffic jam. There are no planes landing or taking off.”
Landed duno what the fuck is happening.— Josh Hartley (@JoshHartley_) August 5, 2014
Armed police outside the plane— Josh Hartley (@JoshHartley_) August 5, 2014