Kuwait man released without charge after Ryanair 'security threat'

Man was being held under terrorism laws at Stansted Airport after flight from Vienna landed

British counterterrorism police on Monday released two men held after a “security threat” aboard a Ryanair flight that led to fighter jets being scrambled to intercept it.

Police said a 34-year-old man from Kuwait and a 48-year-old man from Italy, were released without charge following their detention late Sunday when the flight from Vienna landed at Stansted airport.

Officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) had held the men under terrorism legislation after a “suspicious object” — later said to be a mobile phone — was found in the plane’s toilet.

“We understandably take any reports of suspicious objects or behaviour on flights very seriously and thankfully on this occasion there was no cause for concern,” Detective Superintendent Andy Waldie, head of ERSOU’s Counter Terrorism Policing unit, said.

The incident prompted the Royal Air Force (RAF) to launch two Typhoon fighters from a base in nearby Lincolnshire “to intercept a civilian aircraft” and escort it to Stansted.

A spokesman for budget carrier Ryanair said its crew had been alerted to a “potential security threat on board”.

“In line with procedures, the captain informed UK authorities and continued to London Stansted, where the aircraft landed normally and taxied to a remote stand where passengers disembarked safely,” said the airline.

“Passengers in London Stansted waiting to depart to Vienna were transferred to a spare aircraft to minimise the delay to their flight.”

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