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Thursday, September 23, 1999 Published at 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK


BA jumbo resumes flight after bomb threat

Passengers on a British Airways jumbo jet have resumed their journey after a bomb scare prompted the pilot to make an emergency landing.

The Boeing 747, carrying 264 passengers and a crew of 19, landed in Berlin in Germany on Thursday morning, after a letter was found in a toilet warning that a bomb was on board.

[ image: A warning letter was found in a toilet, said BA]
A warning letter was found in a toilet, said BA
The passengers were taken to a Berlin hotel on Wednesday night.

A BA spokeswoman confirmed that the jumbo had left Berlin at 1700 BST on Thursday, and that the remaining journey would take about 12 hours.

The plane - Flight BA031 - was searched for explosives twice by experts from the Federal Border Police but nothing was found.

A BA spokesperson said the plane was over Latvia when a letter was discovered in one of the on-board toilets.

The spokesperson added: "We had to take it seriously and had no option but to divert.

[ image: The plane landed without incident at Berlin's Tegel airport]
The plane landed without incident at Berlin's Tegel airport
"Safety and security is the priority."

She said the plane left London Heathrow at 1530 BST and made a trouble-free landing at 1830 BST (1930 local time).

A BA spokesperson said: "We are co-operating with the German authorities. They are speaking with all of our passengers.

"There is no way we will be able to continue the flight tonight, so the passengers are being put up in local hotels."

She said she hoped nothing would be found on board but added that it would be an "expensive hoax".

"If it is a hoax it is extremely disruptive to passengers, but we have to err on the safe side."

German police may have to test the handwriting of all 283 people on board to find the culprit.

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