A BRITISH teenager whose private joke accidentally provoked a bomb scare on a flight from London to Spain is set to be hit with a huge fine.
The 20-year-old – who was 18 at the time – is accused of making a bomb hoax via Snapchat which saw a Spanish Eurofighter scrambled to escort the passenger jet to Menorca on July 3, 2022.
He is expected to be forced to cough up €22,000 for the unfortunate incident, but he’ll escape jail time, according to prosecution documents.
The fighter jet was sent into the air after UK security services detected a private message the young man had sent via a Snapchat group while at Gatwick airport.
The message, sent to the five friends he was travelling with, included a selfie with the caption: “On my way to blow up the plane (I’m a member of the Taliban).”
Eavesdropping signal intelligence services in Britain’s GCHQ intercepted the message while the plane was flying over France, and took it seriously enough to alert Spanish authorities.
Passengers on the Airbus recorded dramatic video of the Spanish warplane escorting them, with some even heard commenting that the fighter pilot was ‘showing off’ after he ‘waggled his wings.’
However, it is a gesture known in aviation as indicating the other pilot should follow him.
The plane landed safely at Menorca Airport on an out-of-the-way runway at approximately 16:44 hours, half an hour late.
The horrified young man was promptly arrested by the Guardia Civil, who came equipped with sniffer dogs and bomb disposal experts.
The teenager had to spend the night in a Spanish jail but his day in court did not arrive for a further 18 months.
As well as the crippling fine, the prosecution is seeking nearly €95,000 in compensation for the Ministry of Defence to cover the expenses incurred from the deployment of the fighter jet.
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