Egyptian plane forced to land at Prestwick after fire threat

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An Egyptair jet en route from Cairo to New York was diverted and forced to land at Prestwick on Saturday after a passenger reported finding a note in a toilet on the aircraft, in which someone apparently threatened to set the plane on fire.

The incident was sparked off when a BBC World reporter travelling on the plane with her baby daughter discovered a note reading “I’ll set this plane on fire” which had been left in a toilet.

The reporter, Nada Tawfik, said:

“When I went in to change my daughter, about three hours into the flight, I found a note by the sink saying ‘I’ll set this plane on fire’ with the seat number 46D written on it. So I immediately went to the crew and told them about it. It was on a hand napkin written in pencil and the pencil was actually still there, so I told the crew to make sure to keep it so they can get any fingerprints off it. They locked the bathroom immediately so that no one could go into it.”

The aircraft’s crew decided to divert from their normal flight path after the note was discovered, and radioed for assistance.  The plane was instructed to land at Prestwick Airport, where it was isolated on the tarmac away from the terminal building.  326 passengers and the aircrew were evactuated and interviewed by police.

While the incident was taking place, the A79 was closed in both directions next to the airport between the B739 Station Road junction and the Shawfarm Road junction, but reopened a short time later.

A Scottish police spokesman said:

“At 1420 hours today an Egyptair aircraft flying from Cairo to New York was diverted to Prestwick after a suspicious note was discovered on the aircraft. There are no reports of anyone injured. All passengers will be interviewed by police.”