An easyJet flight was escorted by a Spanish fighter jet after an 18-year-old British holidaymaker allegedly made a bomb threat on board, it emerged today.
The teen was last night facing a potential bill running into the thousands after he was arrested by police when the Gatwick to Menorca flight touched down and specialist officers and sniffer dogs boarded.
The youngster is believed to have been part of a group of friends who had travelled to the Mediterranean holiday island for a celebration.
The alarm was sounded as the easyJet plane – flight EZY8303 – was close to landing just before 5pm yesterday.
Video footage showed it being escorted by a Spanish Airforce F18 fighter jet before it reached its destination.
A spokesman for the Civil Guard confirmed today: “The Civil Guard has arrested an 18-year-old British national as the alleged author of a crime of public disorder in Mahon in Menorca.
“Yesterday the control tower at Menorca Airport was alerted to a bomb threat on a plane heading from London to the island capital Mahon which was still in the air and nearing the airport.
“The threat was said to have been sent on a social media platform.
“Once the plane landed it was taken to an area away from the main terminal and other aircraft.
“The Civil Guard organised a special operation which consisted of mobilising bomb disposal experts as well as sniffer dogs and other officers who created a safe perimeter around the plane.
“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.”
It was not immediately clear today if the unnamed teenager has already appeared before a judge in a closed court hearing and where he is now.
He is expected to face a large compensation bill which could include the costs of the police operation and the scrambling of the military jet.
Police sources confirmed he was likely to have to pick up the tab for the police operation if he were convicted.
Passengers were reportedly kept on the tarmac for four hours while the plane was checked out.
The plane is understood to have touched down around half an hour late at 4.45pm local time on Sunday. The incident reportedly led to it leaving two and half hours late to London.
An easyJet spokesperson told The Mirror: “EasyJet can confirm flight EZY8303 from London Gatwick to Menorca was escorted by military aircraft while landing in Menorca and delayed disembarking due to precautionary security checks.
“The passengers have since disembarked. 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.”
It comes a few weeks after an easyJet flight was forced to make an emergency landing when the pilot fell ill and reportedly rushed to the loo mid-air.
EasyJet flight EZY6938 was approaching Edinburgh Airport in the early hours of June 12 after flying from Heraklion in Greece.
The crew sent out a Live Squawk 700 alert, which was a request for an expedited landing.
The first officer took control of the craft around 1.20am.
Passengers said the pilot was seen entering the toilet and did not come out until it had landed.
EasyJet confirmed that the first officer did land the plane, but did not say whether the captain remained in the toilet until after the plane had landed.
A passenger told the Scottish Sun : “The captain had been seen going into the toilet and not coming out.
“The plane was met on the runway by five fire engines and two ambulances and after landing.
“The very young-looking co-pilot announced on the tannoy that the emergency response was due to the captain taking ill.”
They added that the co-pilot said they had been on duty for 13 hours.