A MAN arrested after a suspected bomb hoax on a UK-bound flight has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, police said.
The 47-year-old from the North West was arrested by armed officers who greeted flight QR23 from Doha, Qatar, when it arrived at Manchester Airport yesterday, escorted by an RAF Typhoon jet.
Greater Manchester Police said today that he had been sectioned.
A spokesman said: "Following his arrest he was assessed by medical staff and again by a mental health team.
"He was subsequently sectioned to allow for a fuller assessment and appropriate treatment."
The alert was sparked by fears of "a possible device on board" but Greater Manchester Police pronounced the Airbus A330-300 clear after searching it.
Some of the 269 passengers on board the flight from the Gulf described seeing the fighter from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire come close to the civilian aircraft as it flew towards Manchester, with pictures and video posted online.
Aurang Zeb, 60, who was returning from a holiday to his home in Bradford, said: "I thought there was something wrong because there was a jet flying so near."
He said the plane landed and was taken to an area well away from the terminal and other planes, where they waited for 45 minutes, then moved again closer to the terminal.
Mr Zeb added: "Then I saw all the police with guns. Lots of police everywhere.
"Kids were crying, some people looked very worried because of rumours there's a bomb on the plane."
Mr Zeb said two armed police then came on and removed the suspect passenger.
"They sat him up and said 'Put your hands up'. He did not say anything.
"People were still worried something might be on board.
"There was a rumour of a bomb on the plane so people are scared. Thank God for that not happening."
Passengers said two armed police arrested the suspect, who was ordered to put his hands on his head before being led away.
Indian Manju Geo, who was coming to the UK to visit family in Stoke, said: "At least two police came on and took one man off called Mr Roy.
"We were told he was writing some notes on the flight and the air hostess found that."
Manchester Airport said nine incoming flights had to be diverted to other airports, with five of these landing at Leeds Bradford Airport.
One of the flights that landed on time at Manchester once the emergency was over was the plane carrying Manchester United back from Florida, where the team has been engaged in a pre-season friendly tournament.
Last night, GMP chief superintendent John O'Hare said: "A 47-year-old man from the North West has been arrested on suspicion of making a bomb hoax and remains in police custody for questioning.
"A full search of the aircraft has now finished and nothing suspicious was found."
DO YOU KNOW ANYONE WHO WAS ONBOARD? Contact the Lancashire Telegraph on 01254 298219