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A Marsden man witnessed the moment a fighter jet escorted a passenger plane carrying 382 people to Manchester Airport following a bomb scare.

Meltham Road resident, Steve Shaw, saw the worrying sight whilst he was driving in between Mossley and Stalybridge just after 1pm and pulled over to get a closer look at what was happening.

The beleaguered aircraft, which was a Qatar Airways A330-300 airbus from Doha, landed safely at the airport with help from a RAF Typhoon, thought to be from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.

Greater Manchester Police have since arrested a suspect on suspicion of making a false bomb hoax, who allegedly passed a letter to a member of the cabin crew which claimed there was a bomb on board.

 

Steve, who works as a carpenter, said: “I was between Mossley and Stalybridge on the way to visit a client when suddenly the plane came into view with what looked like a fighter jet 40 yards away from its left hand side.

“I thought it looked very odd because it’s certainly not a sight that you see every day and wondered what had gone wrong.

“I pulled over when it was safe to do so until it had passed out of sight but didn’t know why the jet was there until I heard a news bulletin on the radio.

“It would have been pretty unnerving for passengers to see, I don’t think I’d have wanted to know what was going on if I was one of them.”

Armed officers escorted a man off the plane as soon as it landed at Manchester and are now holding him in custody.

One passenger, Josh Hartley, who tweeted photos during the incident and talked to the BBC, said: “Well when the escort came it was very scary - I’m pretty shook up now.”

He said that passengers were given no details about what was happening by crew and found out about the threat from Twitter.

They were then made to stay on the plane for around 50 minutes until police removed the suspect.

All flights into and out of the airport were suspended and incoming planes were diverted to Leeds Bradford Airport but many services have now been re-instated.