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21 April 2024

Madrid-Riyadh flight evacuated over scare


Passengers on a flight to Riyadh from Madrid were evacuated on Thursday after a note that read ‘11:30 bomb’ was found pinned to the inside of the aircraft with a knife, police said.

The Saudi Arabian Airlines flight had been due to take off at 0950 GMT but the captain requested an evacuation after the note was discovered and the aircraft was taken to an isolated place in the airport, which continued to function normally throughout.

A spokesman for the Guardia Civil police force, who declined to be named, said there were 97 passengers on board the SVA 226 flight and 15 crew members.

"Security forces and rescue services are mobilised. The plane was isolated and passengers evacuated," a spokeswoman for Aena, the group that manages airports in Spain, told AFP.

The spokeswoman, who also declined to give her name, said the airport was operating normally while security forces were inspecting the plane.

It is still unclear whether the bomb threat was real or not.

But in recent months several airlines have been hit by hoax threats as jitters over extremist attacks continue, particularly since a Russian passenger jet crashed in October over the Sinai peninsula, with the Daesh group claiming to have downed it.

Last month, an Indian passenger plane was forced to make an emergency landing in the city of Nagpur after a hoax bomb threat.

That same January, a Scandinavian Airlines plane carrying 72 people from London to Stockholm was diverted to Gothenburg and the passengers evacuated, due to a bomb threat which turned out to be false.