Ryanair plane intercepted mid-air by two RAF fighter jets and escorted into Stansted following bomb claim
After the plane left Europe, two RAF were scrambled from RAF Coningsby to meet it mid-air and escort it in. Typhoons screeched across the sky at 720mph and caused a sonic boom as they were dispatched to the Suffolk coast to meet the 189-seater Boeing 737 flying to Luton from Kaunas, Lithuania at around 8.30 a.m. The Typhoon fighters shadowed the airliner over East Anglia as it was diverted from its destination of Luton and ordered to land in Stansted Airport, Essex.
As soon as the plane landed in a "safe zone" designed for use in hijackings and terror attacks, the aircraft was quickly surrounded by armed police and passengers were escorted off into a waiting bus after being told to leave their hand luggage at the back of the plane for searches.
He continued: "First, pilot told us of diversion. Then only once landed after about 5-10 mins pilot made announcement of bomb threat. When I heard I was pretty surprised the plane was allowed to take off."
Mr Zulberg added: "Everyone had to drop hand luggage (at the) back of (the) plane."
Zulberg tweeted about the incident after the plane landed, saying: "Was on the flight just been escorted off by armed police... Everyone now on buses. Escorted off plane by armed police all standing in line. Around 20-25 fully armed officers. Sniffer dogs going round the luggage now."
Police experts found nothing suspicious when they examined the plane at the side of the runway.
Ryanair has not responded to questions about checks made in Lithuania and why the flight went ahead in spite of the bomb claims.
An Air Force spokesman said: "The RAF can confirm quick reaction alert Typhoon aircraft were launched this morning from RAF Coningsby to intercept a civilian aircraft. The aircraft was escorted to Stansted airport. Typhoon are authorised to transit at supersonic speed for operational reasons."
The spokesman added: "Flights were briefly held while RAF Typhoons escorted the plane in. All flights are now operating as normal. It was literally a momentary pause."
The sonic boom that was caused by the Typhoon fighters as they screeched across the sky at 720mph was heard across East Anglia at 8.36 a.m., especially over Suffolk, where windows rattled, people fell out of bed and others feared there had been an explosion in the sky. The Typhoons flew from their Lincolnshire base to the coast between Felixstowe and Aldeburgh in around three minutes before following the Ryanair plane into Stansted in Essex. The roar was so loud it registered on the British Geological Survey's earthquake sensors.
Molletts Farm tweeted: "My wife was driving near Little Glemham and thought something had hit the roof of the car #sonicboom #Suffolk."
Lucy & Emily McVeigh wrote: "Massive explosion heard in Debenham this morning. Cows went crazy, very lucky they didn't escape!".
Tristam Thrower said: "Just thought the building was falling down!! Sonic Boom? Holly s**t that was loud!"
And @countrymousie wrote: "I had one foot in the bath at the time... nearly one in the grave within 5 mins... #sonicboom".