A teenager on board an easyJet flight from London Gatwick to Menorca, Spain posted “a fake bomb threat to social media.” The Spanish government set a fighter jet to intercept the aircraft making its 808 mile flight on Sunday.
While this could have ended badly – they wouldn’t have sent the jet outside of a precaution in case they’d decided they needed to shoot it down – the military aircraft ultimately “escorted the easyJet plane all the way to its island destination.”
@easyJet #a319 G-EZAO intercepted by Spanish Air Force on way to Menorca. passengers not being allowed to leave yet. @BigJetTVLIVE @BBCNews @SkyNews @SkyNewsBreak pic.twitter.com/MTWkQnU39x
— Ian Leslie ❤️🇺🇦❤️ (@iandrleslie) July 3, 2022
The 18 year old passenger was part of a group of 5 friends on the flight, and was arrested on arrival. The plane was kept away from the airport’s terminal, and passengers were held on the aircraft for two hours and eventually deplaned one at a time, asked to identify their luggage, and bused to the aircraft. All bags were inspected “by bomb detection dogs and bomb disposal experts” while other takeoffs and landings were delayed at the airport.
According to easyJet,
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
According to the Spanish Civil Guard,
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.
When fighter jets are dispatched nothing usually comes of it. But it means a government is preparing to be in position to shoot down the plane.
Whenever I point this out readers jump up, “they could just be peering into the cockpit.” Right… they could be peering into the cockpit to see whether officials believe shooting down the plane is warranted.
It’s about being prepared to make a judgment call between shooting down the plane and letting terrorists on board do tremendous damage with the plane. It’s about weighing risks. But it’s easier to be willfully blind to this choice and pretend that it’s a “precautionary measure” without asking towards what end?
(HT: Paul H)