A large group of young British men were removed from a Heathrow-bound plane at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel on Sunday night after one of them “joked” about having a bomb in his luggage.
The party members, believed to be on a stag-do, were returned to the terminal after an airport security team were alerted to the possibility of a bomb on board after comments from one of the men.
Among the passengers was Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, who spoke to Jewish News about the incident on board British Airways flight BA164.
“First there was a child with measles who had to be removed, that took some time,” she said. “Then there was a group of men in their 20s and 30s who started playing up. They were really drunk. I assume it was a stag [do].
“One was asked about his baggage by a crew member and he said something like ‘what, do you think I’ve got a bomb in there or something,’ at which the airport was alerted and lines of police came pouring on board to remove the group.
“As the captain quite rightly said, in the Middle East there are some things you just don’t joke about, and they simply couldn’t take the risk. Both captain and crew were excellent, very professional.”
Asked about the men, she said: “They were clearly wealthy. Not only were they flying British Airways, but some were flying in business class.”
Israel Airports Authority confirmed that 18 British citizens were removed. Their luggage was removed from the hold of the aircraft, but it was determined that there was no threat. The passengers were returned to the terminal and the plane took off after a two-hour delay.
In a statement British Airways said: “The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority. We take these matters extremely seriously, and the appropriate action will always be taken.”