EgyptAir Passengers Arrive At JFK After Threatening Note Caused Emergency Landing
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Passengers aboard a diverted EgyptAir flight bound for John F. Kennedy International Airport have finally arrived at their destination following a threat and an emergency landing in Scotland.
A Massachusetts woman aboard Saturday’s flight 985 said they were told the plane had to make an unscheduled landing because of a technical problem.
But when they landed in Scotland, she said SWAT teams were standing by.
“They kept us on the plane for like three hours with the police around us and then it was about an hour or two in when I realized they had guns trained on us,” Cassandra Wilson told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck.
The EgyptAir jet – which was supposed to be a nonstop flight to JFK – had to land on a remote section of the tarmac at Prestwick Airport in Glasgow, Scotland.
A threatening note was reportedly found in a lavatory by Nada Tawfik a producer for BBC UN. She claimed that the note read, “I’ll set this plane on fire seat 46D.”
The note was found about three hours into the flight.
“If it was a joke, it’s not funny at all. And if it wasn’t a joke – well, either way I hope they’re prosecuted. You can’t do these things,” said Wilson.
Tawfik said that after discovering the note by the lavatory sink, she alerted cabin crew who then locked the toilet.
“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” she told the BBC, saying she told the flight attendants she wasn’t sure if the note was a prank or not. “Either someone has a very bad sense of humor or, you know, it’s very scary.”
British Typhoon fighter jets escorted the plane to Glasgow’s Prestwick Airport, where the flight was met by a heavy police presence, but no arrests were made and the flight was eventually cleared to carry on its journey to the U.S.
Investigators as of Saturday evening had recovered the pencil that the note was written with, which might yield fingerprints. They also interviewed all 326 passengers on the plane, resulting in very long delays for nervous passengers and relatives.
Those on board the plane said they’re just glad the long journey is over.
“I’m so tired, I just want to go to bed and I am very happy to be home,” she told Schuck.
Meantime, a spokeswoman for Police Scotland said that five people out of the flight’s roughly 300 passengers were now claiming asylum in Britain.
Speaking from Cairo, EgyptAir CEO Tawfeek Asi identified the passengers as Syrians, although the Scottish police spokeswoman said she could not provide any information about their nationality. She spoke on condition of anonymity, saying office rules forbade her from identifying herself publicly.
Britain’s Home Office, which is responsible for matters of immigration and asylum, declined to comment Sunday.
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