Civil Guard finds no explosives on threatened Madrid-Riyadh flight

Barajas Airport had issued alert after bomb threat note found on Saudi Airlines plane

The tail of the Saudi Airlines flight on a runway at Terminal 4.
The tail of the Saudi Airlines flight on a runway at Terminal 4.Carlos Rosillo

Spanish Civil Guard officers at Madrid’s Barajas Airport who inspected the plane on which a note warning of a bomb threat was discovered have found no traces of explosives aboard.

A “general alert” was issued at the airport at 12.45pm on Thursday morning after the captain of a Saudi Airlines plane that was due to fly from Madrid to Riyadh announced that the flight had received a threat, Spanish airports authority Aena said via Twitter. This was later reduced to a “local” alert and then deactivated following the results of the inspection.

According to police sources, the alert was issued after a note reading "bomb aboard" was found pinned up with a knife on the door of a luggage rack in the aircraft, just before it was due to take off.

Tweet from AENA “We inform you of a threat on Madrid-Riyadh flight SVA 226. The state security forces are making the appropriate inquiries”

A crew member saw the note, raised the alarm and the airplane, a Boeing 777-200LR/F, was diverted to a secure area of the airport, where the 97 passengers aboard were evacuated. 

Bomb disposal experts were dispatched to the scene in order to follow protocols obliging them to carry out a full inspection of the aircraft, but failed to find any explosive material aboard. Judicial police have taken charge of the investigation and have questioned the passengers.

The airport is continuing to operate normally after the incident, Aena has confirmed. Only one of the airport's runways was closed with one take-off runway and two landing runways remaining in use, according to air traffic controllers.

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