Norfolk man caught up in Ryanair bomb drama
PUBLISHED: 11:20 20 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:23 20 July 2020
A Norfolk man has relived the terrifying moment armed police stormed a plane he was travelling on after a bomb threat.
Jarl Barnes, from Dereham, was on board a “normal” Ryanair flight from London Stansted to Oslo on Friday, July 17, when the drama unfolded.
A note was found claiming there was a security threat and a Danish F-16 military aircraft scrambled to escort the plane - which was carrying 147 passengers - to Oslo Airport.
Once the aircraft landed, it taxied far away from the main terminal and armed police stormed the plane.
Police arrested a 51-year-old British man who was on board the flight. He was later released by police.
Mr Barnes, 57, was travelling to help his ill brother collect and sort the belonging of his mother, who died on January 2.
“To start off with, it was all normal,” Mr Barnes said. “The flight attendants were serving food and drink as normal, it wasn’t until we landed that we found out there was a security issue.
“The pilot’s first message simply stated there was a security threat, but in the second announcement you could tell something had happened by the sound of his voice.
“Instead of the usual authoritative voice, he was struggling with what to say.
“That’s when I knew something was seriously wrong.”
Mr Barnes said: “It was like something out of Call of Duty, they were shouting at us to put our hands in the air and remain seated.
“They then took away a man a few rows behind me before we were all escorted off the plane, still with our hands in the air.
“It was terrifying, especially as the police were behind me and I couldn’t see where they were aiming their guns.
“We were then taken to a holding bay where we were for around six hours. I was lucky I had my phone.”
All passengers and crew were given seats in the bay along with food and water.
“There wasn’t much communication but I understand they had a job to do,” said Mr Barnes. “When we were told that we were safe, it was more just boredom.
You may also want to watch:
“When I was sat in the bay it did make me think. When I first got on the flight I posed a picture on Facebook complaining that I was uncomfortable wearing my mask.
“That could have been my last picture.”
Mr Barnes got to his hotel at 11.30pm and is now spending time with his family.
He said: “Since the incident I have been having really weird dreams about the same kind of situation.
“I’m a nervous flyer anyway and I’m not looking forward to the journey back. Lightning doesn’t strike twice surely?”
A spokesperson from Ryanair said crew on the flight “discovered a note claiming there was a security threat on board.”
The plane operator said: “The aircraft landed safely in Oslo airport at 12.26pm [local time] where passengers were met by local police who carried out a security check.
“The aircraft was cleared to return to service and passengers were released at 6pm.
“Ryanair sincerely apologised for any inconvenience caused”.
This is a full statement from Norwegian Police:
“Police have previously stated that a 51-year-old man has been arrested and suspected of being behind the threats.
“The investigation initially showed there was good reason to suspect the man of serious threats.
“The police have now finished the forensic investigations, after this, there is no basis for further custody of the arrested man.
“The investigation is still at an early stage, and we can therefore not rule out that there may be another perpetrator among the passengers than the suspect.
“This does not mean that we believe there are more perpetrators, but that we take the necessary investigative steps to clarify the suspicion against the suspected perpetrator or perpetrators in more detail.
“The police have now completed the investigations on the spot and have obtained testimony from the passengers.
“The passengers were continuously checked out of the case so that they would be able to leave Oslo Airport.
“We will come back with more information if there is a development in the case.”
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.