Bomb threat forces evacuation of Saudi airliner

Knife-pinned note saying "11:30 bomb" found inside Saudia passenger jet which was due to fly from Madrid to Riyadh.

    In recent months several airlines have been hit by hoax threats [File: Arshad Arbab/EPA]
    In recent months several airlines have been hit by hoax threats [File: Arshad Arbab/EPA]

    Passengers on a Saudi Arabian Airlines plane to Riyadh from Madrid have been evacuated after a note that read "11:30 bomb" was found pinned to the inside of the aircraft with a knife, according to Spanish police.

    Thursday's bomb threat was fake, according to Saudi Arabian Airlines, or Saudia, whose plane was involved in the incident.

    The flight had been due to take off at 09:50 GMT but the captain requested an evacuation after the note was discovered and the aircraft was taken to an isolated place in the airport, which continued to function normally throughout.

    A Saudia spokesman said the threat was a false alarm and the airline was taking all the necessary precautions.

    "It's just another hoax that all airlines are subjected to," he said.

    A spokesman for the Guardia Civil police force, who declined to be named, said there were 97 passengers on board the SVA 226 flight and 15 crew members.

    "Security forces and rescue services are mobilised. The plane was isolated and passengers evacuated," a spokeswoman for AENA, the group that manages airports in Spain, told the AFP news agency.

    The spokeswoman, who also declined to give her name, said the airport was operating normally while security forces were inspecting the plane.

    In recent months several airlines have been hit by hoax threats as fears over violent attacks persist, particularly since a Russian passenger jet crashed in October over the Sinai peninsula, with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claiming to have downed it.

    Last month, an Indian passenger plane was forced to make an emergency landing in the country's western city of Nagpur after a hoax bomb threat.

    That same January, a Scandinavian Airlines plane carrying 72 people from London to Stockholm was diverted to Gothenburg and the passengers evacuated, owing to a bomb threat which turned out to be false.

    SOURCE: AFP And Reuters


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