London-bound Passenge Plane Makes Emergency Landing after Bomb Alert

A LONDON-bound passenger plane made an emergency landing escorted by two fighter jets after a bomb alert this afternoon.

British Airways flight 983 was diverted to Amsterdam where it came in so low that people on the ground thought it was going to crash.

One man said: "The military jets peeled away and left the airliner to land on its own at the last moment. We feared they would crash onto the houses.

They were so low and their engines were screaming."

The Berlin to Heathrow plane was carrying more than 120 people. It was diverted to Schipol airport after the airline received a "specific threat" against the aircraft. Crew on board asked for a military escort and two F-16 jets from the Dutch air force were scrambled to meet it in mid-flight.

A massive security operation swung into action at Amsterdam as the Airbus A319 was given emergency clearance to land.

The aircraft was ordered away from the main terminal as Dutch antiterrorist police searched it. BA 983 was one hour and one minute into its flight from Berlin when the captain was ordered to divert.

The threat against the aircraft is believed to have warned of a bomb on board in a phone call from Germany.

Passengers were subjected to a full security screening in a search for weapons.

The drama comes a day after a Greek airliner was forced to make an emergency landing in Ireland after a bomb threat.

The Olympic Airways plane from Athens to New York was diverted to Shannon after a phone warning to an Athens newspaper that there was a bomb on board.

It was the second Olympic plane to be diverted in three days.

The other Olympic jet was diverted to Stansted and escorted into land by Tornado jets. Both aircraft continued their journeys after searches of the plane revealed nothing.

In recent months there have also been repeated threats to specific BA London to Washington flights - some of which were cancelled and others badly delayed.

A BA spokeswoman said: "BA 983 was diverted to Amsterdam as a precaution because of security reasons. There was a specific threat to the aircraft but we're not releasing details."