Passengers on board an aircraft at Madrid Airport were evacuated before take off yesterday due to a bomb hoax. Flight crew found a note pinned to a door on the Riyadh bound Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 777-200. The note said bomb on board in English script.
The pilot of Flight SVA226 immediately aborted take-off and informed air-traffic controllers about the note. The aircraft was directed to the remotest sector of Madrid Barajas Airport and an AENA spokesperson said all of the 97 passengers and crew on board evacuated safely.
Passengers were then transported to a private lounge area and the aircraft was searched by bomb and security experts. The search team came up empty-handed. Police officers quizzed the passengers and could not link any of them to the note or a possible bomb.
The passengers were mostly Saudi nationals, but there were a few Spanish citizens. An insider close to the investigation says Civil Guard investigators are now working on the assumption the note had been planted on the incoming flight.
The insider says officers believe the note was already there before any of the passengers on SVA226 boarded and the cleaning crew had missed it when the aircraft was on the tarmac. Officers are still examining the details of travellers on the inbound flight from Saudi Arabia.
The AENA spokesperson stated that at the time of the original bomb alert Madrid Airport was placed on high alert. This was reduced after the passengers on the Saudi Arabian aeroplane had been evacuated and flights were operating normally later yesterday.