Dutchman charged with causing mid-air bomb scare


A 44-YEAR-OLD Dutchman was charged yesterday with causing a mid-air bomb scare on board a transatlantic jet.

Jorge Flores was charged at Shannon District Court sitting in Ennis, contrary to Section 43 of the Air Navigation and Transport Act 1988, of knowingly making a false alarm on the flight by stating that he had a bomb.

In response to the alleged bomb scare on Wednesday the captain of the Aruba-bound Boeing 767, with 231 passengers aboard from Amsterdam, diverted the chartered holiday flight to Shannon airport. It landed at 10.30am, where Mr Flores was immediately arrested by local gardaí.

Giving evidence of arrest, charge and caution, Garda James Quigley of Shannon Garda station told the court Mr Flores made no reply when charged and cautioned.

In court, Insp Tom Kennedy said the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) is to consider the case further and determine if further charges may result. Applying that Mr Flores be remanded in custody to Ennis District Court today, Insp Kennedy said that the remand would allow gardaí further time to inquire about Mr Flores with the Dutch authorities.

Insp Kennedy said that he would be in a better position at the Ennis court sitting to know what may happen with other charges.

Judge Joseph Mangan granted legal aid to Mr Flores and his solicitor, Jenny Fitzgibbon, said that she would be reserving her position about bail to Ennis District Court today.

Mr Flores required the presence of an interpreter for the hearing and his interpreter told the court that Mr Flores wished to address the court, but did not after consulting Ms Fitzgibbon.

Judge Mangan remanded Mr Flores in custody to reappear before Ennis District Court today.

Mr Flores was travelling by himself to the Caribbean island of Aruba off the coast of Venezuela on the flight operated by charter firm, Arkefly.

The bomb scare sparked a major security alert at Shannon airport where the plane was taxied to a remote part of the airfield.

A Garda search of the flight after the expiry of the flight-time to Aruba at 8.15pm on Wednesday found no device. The Dutch holiday makers continued their journey to Aruba after Arkefly flew in a replacement aircraft.

A spokeswoman for Arkefly said it would pursue the individual who allegedly made the bomb scare for the “substantial costs”.