No explosive device found on Turkish Airlines jet in Shannon

Flight was travelling from Houston to Istanbul when crew found a written note on board

No explosive device has been found on the Turkish Airlines flight which was diverted to Shannon Airport on Sunday, a spokesman for the flag carrier said.

The plane – bound for Istanbul, Turkey from Houston, Texas – was diverted to Ireland after a piece of paper with "bomb" written on it was discovered in the toilet, a spokesman for Turkish Airlines said.

Nothing was found in the search of the aircraft in Shannon, the Turkish Airlines spokesman said, adding that the plane would take off again to Istanbul.

An airport spokesman said the Boeing 777 touched down without incident and all 209 passengers, plus crew, disembarked safely.

“The incident is now the subject of a follow-up investigation from an Garda Siochana,” he said.

The flight TK-34 departed Houston at 9.07pm local time on Saturday (4.07am irish-time Sunday) and was oringally due in Istanbul at around 3.45pm Irish time.

Units of the local authority fire service from Shannon and Ennis were sent to the airport as back up to the airport’s own fire and rescue service. Ambulances from Ennis and Limerick were also mobilised along with gardaí.

The Irish Coast Guard was also alerted to the incident and placed the RNLI lifeboat based at Kilrush on standby until the flight had safely crossed the west coast.

At around 10.20am Irish time, the crew made radio contact with controllers at the Irish Aviation Authority’s North Atlantic Communications Centre at Ballygirreen in Co Clare.

The crew issued a Pan-Pan distressed call and requested permission to dump fuel over the Atlantic to ensure they touched down within safe landing weight levels. The flight landed safely at around 11.02am.

After landing, the jet was directed to a remote taxiway where the passengers were disembarked via mobile stairs and taken to the terminal by bus.

As with previous similar incidents, the jet remained parked until its scheduled flight time had elapsed before authorities searched the aircraft for any evidence of explosives.

The note was also taken into evidence by gardaí and the handwriting compared with samples taken from passengers.

A spokeswoman for Shannon airport said gardaí were investigating the “security issue”.

Turkish Airlines has been targeted with a series of hoax bomb warnings over the last year.