Ryanair flight evacuated and nine passengers ejected after man shouts ‘Allahu Akbar'

A bomb squad was called in after a man joked that there were explosives on the plane

A Ryanair aircraft takes off from Lille Airport in Lesquin on August 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN
Powered by automated translation

Nine passengers were thrown off a Ryanair flight in Belgium after one of the group shouted “Allahu Akbar” and suggested there was a bomb on the plane.

The flight, which was destined for Madrid, was grounded for a number of hours at Brussels Airport, while a bomb squad conducted searches.

Airline crew called police, who arrested a 51-year-old Belgian man and evacuated all the passengers from the plane.

Speaking to local news channel VTM Nieuws, police said the man was ejected along with his eight companions, who were all of Belgian nationality.

"The flight commander refused to take these nine people. One of them was a foolish joker and called 'Allahu Akbar'," said federal police spokesman Peter De Waele.

The man was also "crying something about bombs", Flemish newspaper De Morgen reported.

Nothing suspicious was found on the plane and the flight took off at 9.25am (11.25am GST), over two hours late.

A Ryanair spokesman said: "The crew of this flight from Brussels to Madrid (2 Sep) requested police assistance after a number of passengers became disruptive prior to departure.

"Police removed and detained the individuals before the aircraft departed to Madrid.

"We will not tolerate unruly or disruptive behaviour at any time and the safety and comfort of our customers, crew and aircraft is our number one priority."

In March 2016, 32 people died after three suicide bombers targeted Brussels Airport and Maalbeek metro station in a coordinated attack.

In August, a man was shot dead after he attacked soldiers in the Belgian capital with a knife while shouting "Allahu Akbar".