A Spanish fighter jet intercepted a commercial easyJet flight between London, England and Menorca, Spain. The fighter jet escorted the easyJet plane all the way to its island destination on Sunday, after a teenager on board the flight reportedly posted a fake bomb threat to social media.
“easyJet can confirm flight EZY8303 from London Gatwick to Menorca on 3 July 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,” wrote easyJet spokesperson, Paula Peralta, to Gizmodo in an email.
An 18-year old British national who allegedly made the false threat was traveling with a group of five friends. The teenager was arrested in Spain and is awaiting a court hearing, a Spanish Civil Guard spokesperson said to Reuters. The Spanish Civil Guard did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
The flight landed safely at the Menorca airport about 30 minutes later than its scheduled arrival, in a security screening area away from the main terminal. Once landed, over the course of about two hours, passengers were allowed off the plane one-by-one and were asked by officials to identify their luggage. All baggage was then inspected by bomb detection dogs and bomb disposal experts, reported Reuters. Other flights leaving Menorca faced delays and changes because of the incident.
“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 were taken to a police station so officers could clarify the situation,” said the Spanish Civil Guard in a statement to The Guardian.
A passenger on the flight recorded a video of the Spanish Civil Guard jet flying just outside the plane’s window. The fighter craft can be seen rocking side to side, waggling its wings, which is a military signal used to indicate interception.
Based on the orange wing tips in the video, Reuters reported that the easyJet flight was an A-319 aircraft, which usually carries about 120-150 passengers.