Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Emergency landing in Cologne after Polish passenger makes bomb joke

A Ryanair jet made a non-scheduled landing in the German city of Cologne during the night after a Polish passenger pretended to have a bomb in his carry-on luggage, German police said Wednesday.

The plane was flying from Luebeck, northern Germany, to Stansted near London. The passenger, 22, had refused to switch off his cellphone when asked to do so by the man seated next to him, and then claimed he had a bomb.

The Irish plane was over Dutch territory at this time. Its pilot issued an emergency radio call and diverted to Cologne, Germany.

Police arrested the passenger when the plane touched down shortly before midnight, but found no bomb in his luggage. He was slightly drunk and insisted he had been joking. Police freed him on bail on the condition that he immediately return to Poland.

The jet resumed its journey after 2 hours on the ground. Police said the passenger would be summoned later to answer German charges of breaching the peace by threatening a crime.