Drunk Briton told jet passengers 'we are going to blow up'

4th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

A drunk Briton on a flight about to leave London for Dubai sparked a major security alert by telling passengers "there is a bomb on this plane" and "we are going to blow up", a court heard Monday.

Ronald Fowles triggered the scare in January last year which grounded the Emirates flight at London Heathrow airport.

The alert came to an end when armed police stormed the plane and arrested the 59-year-old and another passenger. Some 330 passengers were taken off the plane but a police search turned up no dangerous substances.

Fowles and his travelling companion, 49-year-old Alexander McGinn, indulged in a heavy drinking session at the airport before boarding the flight, prosecutor Martin Fox told Southwark Crown Court in London.

"He was sat next to a young lady in his bank of seats," said Fox.

"She heard him mumble either, 'there are bombs on this plane or there is a bomb on this plane,' and she became upset."

"One man who was sitting close by could hear him say, 'We are all going to die, we are all going to get killed, we are going to blow up'," the prosecutor added.

Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith sentenced Fowles to four months in prison.

However the former army officer, who had admitted one charge of being drunk on an aircraft, was not jailed as he had already served seven days in custody and 220 days on curfew.

The authorities dropped another charge of making a bomb threat.

McGinn was acquitted of being drunk on the Boeing 777 after prosecutors offered no evidence against him.

The scare came shortly after a Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, allegedly tried to detonate a device stitched into his underwear on a flight from Amsterdam as it landed in the United States on Christmas Day in 2009.

© 2011 AFP

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