EgyptAir plane diverted to Scotland after 'fire’ threat
Pilot diverts from New York destination as note found in toilet stating 'this flight will be on fire’
Passengers leaving the EgyptAir flight after it was diverted to Prestwick Airport, Scotland, today. Photograph: PA/Andrew Milligan Wire.
An EgyptAir jet heading to New York from Cairo was diverted and landed in Scotland this afternoon after a passenger found a note in a toilet containing a threat to set the aircraft on fire, the Egyptian airline has said.
The pilot informed air traffic control and landed at Glasgow Prestwick Airport where the 310 passengers were to disembark, Tawfik Assy, chairman of the state-owned airline, said in Cairo.
The authorities would search the craft once passengers were taken off, he added. Scottish police confirmed the incident had taken place but had no further details.
A note, written in English and reading, “This flight will be on fire,” was found next to a pencil in one of the plane’s toilets by a woman passenger, Assy said.
Once the crew were made aware, the pilot diverted: “According to the rules, we have to be on the ground as soon as possible,” Assy said.
No comment was immediately available from Prestwick airport.
BBC employee Nada Tafik, who found the note, earlier said she found a note in a toilet apparently threatening to start a fire.
Before people had started disembarking from the flight she told the BBC News Channel: “I’m still on board, we were told that we would be able to get off half an hour ago but we’re still here on the plane and as you can imagine it’s a pretty tense situation.
“Everyone is out of their seats and everyone is very concerned and we don’t have much information at all.
“I’m actually the one who found the note in the rest room. When I went in to change my daughter about three hours into the flight, I found a note by the sink saying ‘I set this plane on fire’ with the seat number 46 D written on it.
“So I immediately went to the crew and told them about it.
“It was on a hand napkin written in pencil and the pencil was actually still there so I told the crew to make sure to keep it so they can get any finger prints off of it. They locked the bathroom immediately so that no one could go into it.
“It almost looked like a child’s handwriting or someone who has very sloppy handwriting, but it was very alarming especially these days when everyone is so concerned about safety on flights. I said to one of the stewardesses ‘I don’t know if this is a prank’, they said no, it can’t be a prank.
“Either someone has a very bad sense of humour or, you know, it’s very scary.
“No security has boarded the plane we’re all just waiting to get off, people are out of their seats, It’s a bit chaotic, no one really knows what’s going on.”
A police spokeswoman said: “At around 1420 hours today an Egyptair aircraft flying from Cairo to New York was diverted to Prestwick Airport after a suspicious note was discovered on the aircraft.
“There are no reports of anyone injured and police are currently making arrangements for the 326 passengers to disembark.
“All passengers will then be interviewed by police.”