NINE men were hauled off a Ryanair flight from Brussels to Madrid after sparking a terror alert later described by police as “a crazy joke”.
Passengers were evacuated and the flight was delayed for two hours as police searched for explosives after the group of Belgian men started making jokes about being Islamists with bombs.
Prosecutors later said the men appeared to be drunk as they boarded the flight early on Saturday morning – one man, aged in his 50s, was later led away and will face prosecution.
Police spokesman Peter De Waele said: “The flight commander refused to take nine people; one of them made a crazy joke and started calling out ‘Allah Akbar’ (God is great).”
He said all the luggage was removed from the plane and examined by bomb squad sniffer dogs.
The airport and the city’s metro station remain on high alert after a terrorist attack in April 2016 killed 32 people; while Spain’s latest terror outrage claimed 15 victims in Barcelona and Cambrils.
Low cost carrier Ryanair has repeatedly stated it will not tolerate unruly or drunken behaviour on its aircraft following a number of incidents on its aircraft; a BBC documentary last month claimed arrests of intoxicated passengers was up 50%.