Egypt-Bound Airliner Lands in Bulgaria on `Joke' Bomb Threat

Bulgarian authorities said no bomb was found on a plane flying from Warsaw to the Egyptian resort of Hurghada on the Red Sea after it made an emergency landing when a passenger warned that a bomb may be on board.

The 67-year-old Pole, whose identity wasn’t released, admitted to making the threat in jest after drinking alcohol, the Bulgarian Interior Ministry said in a statement posted on its website on Thursday. He’s being questioned, it said.

“The passenger later admitted it was a joke,” Small Planet, the Estonia-based company that operated the charter flight, said in a statement on its website. It said it will send another plane to take the travelers to Hurghada.

The bomb scare follows heightened security across Europe after the attacks in Paris that killed 127 people last week and Islamic State’s claiming responsibility for downing the Russian jet carrying 224 people from the Egyptian resort Sharm El-Sheikh last month. Bulgaria has arrested a number of people on suspicion of terrorism this year as it steps up controls on its 240-kilometer (150-mile) border with Turkey amid the escalating violence in Syria and Iraq.

All 161 passengers on the plane from Warsaw disembarked, and police checked the aircraft, Burgas Mayor Dimitar Nikolov said by phone. The plane landed at the Sarafovo airport near the Black Sea city of Burgas at 5:45 a.m., which was also the site of a 2012 bombing that killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver and wounded another 30 people.

“A drunken Pole jabbering raised that kind of alert,” Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said in a broadcast on BNR public radio. “It was good training for us in case it’s real next time.”

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