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Sheffield passenger’s terror on bomb hoax plane

Josh Hartley who tweeted images whilst onboard flight QR23 from Doha, Qata

Josh Hartley who tweeted images whilst onboard flight QR23 from Doha, Qata

A Sheffield man on board a passenger airline gave a running commentary on his Twitter feed after a passenger claimed there was bomb on the plane.

Josh Hartley, aged 21, posted the commentary online during the 90 minute drama.

A man from the North West was arrested after a suspected bomb hoax on the UK-bound flight which landed at Manchester and has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, police said.

The 47-year-old was arrested by armed officers who greeted flight QR23 from Doha, Qatar, when it arrived at Manchester Airport, escorted by an RAF Typhoon jet.

Greater Manchester Police said that he had been sectioned.

Josh said he spotted the RAF Typhoon outside the window of the passenger plane after they had circled several times.

He said: “We were coming in to land and about eight minutes, 10 minutes before we landed, a fighter jet came alongside. I looked out the window, then I just started shaking - it was a bit terrifying seeing a fighter jet outside the window.”

He said passengers had not been given information about what was happening by the 13-strong crew of the Qatari plane, who even gave them the standard weather update before they touched down.

Instead they said they found out there had been a bomb scare from news websites and Twitter.

His friend Matt Cox, who was asleep in his seat until the aircraft landed, told the broadcaster: “We didn’t get told anything about the nature of what was happening at any point.

“It’s not nice finding things out from Twitter rather than the people who are supposed to be in charge of you. Obviously we know why they did it.”

A police spokesman said: “Following his arrest he was assessed by medical staff and again by a mental health team.

“He was subsequently sectioned to allow for a fuller assessment and appropriate treatment.”

The alert was sparked by fears of ‘a possible device on board’ but Greater Manchester Police pronounced the Airbus A330-300 clear after searching it.

Some of the 269 passengers on board the flight from the Gulf described seeing the fighter from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire come close to the civilian aircraft as it flew towards Manchester, with pictures and video posted online.

Passengers said two armed police arrested the suspect, who was ordered to put his hands on his head before being led away.

Manchester Airport said nine incoming flights had to be diverted to other airports, with five of these landing at Leeds Bradford Airport.

One of the flights that landed on time at Manchester once the emergency was over was the plane carrying Manchester United back from Florida, where the team had been engaged in a pre-season friendly tournament.

 

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