Two RAF Typhoons escorted a Ryanair plane from Vienna to London Stansted last night after “suspicious objects” were discovered in the cabin washroom mid-flight. Staff onboard triggered the terror alert and two men were held in connection to the incident. But it has since emerged the suspicious item was just a mobile phone.
Armed police surrounded the Laudamotion flight on the upon its arrival at 7.20pm on Sunday, after the RAF escorted the flight to the London airport.
Two men aged 24 and 28 from Kuwait and Italy were escorted off the plane and taken into custody by anti-terror police.
However on Monday the suspicious item was examined and found not to be of concern.
Both men have since been released and the investigation closed.
It is estimated to have cost £90,000 to scramble to the two RAF Typhoon for the 30-minute operation.
A spokesman for the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, which fights terrorism and organised crime, today confirmed the “suspicious object” was a phone that was found in the toilets.
In a statement he added: “Officers investigating reports of a suspicious device on a flight landing at London Stansted Airport yesterday have concluded their enquiries.
“Following reports of a suspicious device in the bathroom of a plane arriving from Vienna, Austria, shortly after 7pm, Counter Terrorism Policing officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) detained two men under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act (2000).
“After examination by specialist investigators, the object was found not to be of concern.
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“We are parked in a remote area. Nothing happening yet.
“The police have come on board and taken two men away.
“They found suspicious objects in the toilets and called the police.
“All seems OK now. That was scary!”
A Ryanair spokesman said: “The crew of a Ryanair flight from Vienna to London Stansted this evening (30 Aug) alerted of a potential security threat on board.
“In line with procedures, the captain informed UK authorities and continued to London Stansted, where the aircraft landed normally and taxied to a remote stand where passengers disembarked safely.
“Passengers in London Stansted waiting to depart to Vienna were transferred to a spare aircraft to minimise the delay to their flight. This is now a matter for the local police”.
The RAF confirmed its fighters helped with the call.
An RAF spokesman said: “Typhoon fighter aircraft from RAF Coningsby were launched this evening to intercept a civilian aircraft.
“The aircraft was escorted safely to Stansted.”
A spokesman for Stansted airport confirmed operations returned to normal later on Sunday evening.