RAF jets aid Ryanair flight in emergency landing at Stansted amid bomb fears

Two men arrested after note warning of explosives found in loo on Dublin-bound plane

A Ryanair plane lands at Stansted Airport
(Image credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Two men have been arrested over a bomb scare that saw two RAF fighter jets scrambled to escort a Ryanair flight to Stansted Airport for an emergency landing.

The alarm was triggered on Monday evening when crew on Flight FR1902 from the Polish city of Krakow to Dublin discovered a note in the plane’s toilet claiming that explosives had been planted on board.

The pilot “immediately alerted UK authorities”, who scrambled two Typhoon fighter jets from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, as well as a Quick Reaction Alert tanker from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, the Daily Mail reports.

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Essex Police announced this morning that two men, aged 47 and 26, have been arrested on suspicion of making threats to endanger an aircraft. “Following investigations on the plane, we have been able to establish there is nothing suspicious on board,” the force added in a statement on Facebook.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, the maximum penalty for endangering the safety of an aircraft by “communicating false or misleading information” is life imprisonment or an unlimited fine.

Witnesses who saw yesterday’s emergency landing said that the airport was “covered with armed police”, while the Boeing 737-800 plane was surrounded by “lots and lots of fire engines and ambulances”, the Daily Star reports.

Footage later emerged of armed police boarding the plane at around 7.35pm as it stood on the runway at Stansted, according to The Sun. “After five minutes on board, two officers appeared to escort a man in a white T-shirt from the aircraft,” says the newspaper, which adds that “other passengers were then allowed to leave the plane”.

A Ryanair spokesperson said that the plane’s captain had “followed procedure by alerting the UK authorities and diverted to the nearest airport”.

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Joe Evans is the world news editor at TheWeek.co.uk. He joined the team in 2019 and held roles including deputy news editor and acting news editor before moving into his current position in early 2021. He is a regular panellist on The Week Unwrapped podcast, discussing politics and foreign affairs. 

Before joining The Week, he worked as a freelance journalist covering the UK and Ireland for German newspapers and magazines. A series of features on Brexit and the Irish border got him nominated for the Hostwriter Prize in 2019. Prior to settling down in London, he lived and worked in Cambodia, where he ran communications for a non-governmental organisation and worked as a journalist covering Southeast Asia. He has a master’s degree in journalism from City, University of London, and before that studied English Literature at the University of Manchester.