Emergency services rushed to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport yesterday after reports of a bomb onboard a KLM Boeing 737-700. All passengers were evacuated, and the flight was canceled to allow for an investigation. One man has been arrested.
The KLM aircraft, registered PH-BGM, was about to operate flight KL115 from Amsterdam to Sweden when the alarm was raised for a potential bomb. The threat was considered serious enough to have all passengers evacuated, and the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (RNLM), which is responsible for state security, arrived promptly with a helicopter.
The incident was confirmed at around 15:30, although the NL Times reports that emergency services were summoned to the airport at around 14:55. An emergency rescue helicopter arrived shortly after at 15:15. According to reports, the fire service had been called to the same area of the airport just half an hour before the incident.
Part of the airport’s D Pier was closed while the security forces investigated the incident, which took well over an hour. Despite this, the airport does not seem to have experienced much disruption. The flight in question was initially confirmed as delayed by around three hours and then was later canceled.
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Despite the information online regarding the situation, KLM has not confirmed the incident. The RNLM took to Twitter to say that they were “investigating a suspicious situation onboard an aircraft @schiphol.”
De Marechaussee onderzoekt een verdachte situatie aan boord van een vliegtuig op @Schiphol. Later meer.
— Koninklijke Marechaussee (@Marechaussee) December 9, 2020
The RNLM later confirmed that the incident was a suspected bomb threat. They also confirmed that a suspect had been apprehended and arrested in Haarlem, just a short distance from the airport. In their statements online, the RNLM implied that the person who reported the bomb was arrested, heavily implying the threat was a hoax. The investigation turned up no dangers, and passengers had their luggage returned to them.
KLM has not responded to a request for comment and has not made an official statement on the incident.
False bomb threats
In most countries around the world, falsely reporting a bomb threat is a criminal offense. It is a waste of police time and resources, and providing police with false information is a felony. It is likely the reporter was arrested for these charges rather than because of a real threat.
However, that doesn’t stop people from reporting non-existent bombs to the police. Earlier this year, one man feared he would miss his easyJet flight from Gatwick, so he falsely reported a bomb onboard, hoping to delay the plane’s departure.
A similar incident occurred in Belgrade. A Serbian man called in a false bomb threat because he wanted to take a Lufthansa flight attendant on a date. After failing to find her hotel, he called in the threat to prevent Lufthansa flights from leaving town. Romantic.
Nowadays, with such strong security in place, bomb threats are becoming rarer and almost always turn out to be false. However, they are taken very seriously in case the threat doesn’t turn out to be false.