A 47-year-old British man who was arrested yesterday for making a false bomb threat aboard a Qatar Airways flight has been sectioned under the UK’s Mental Health Act and is being evaluated by doctors.
According to health websites in the UK, being sectioned under this law means that the man can be admitted, detained and treated in a hospital against his will.
It is typically applied when someone’s health problems are serious enough to warrant protection of other people or if that person is unwilling to agree to admission himself.
Assessments can last up to 28 days, and treatment can last up to six months and be renewed. A patient may also be required to take medication against his consent.
On Tuesday, the man apparently passed a note to cabin crew saying there was “a device” onboard QR23, which was heading from Doha to Manchester. The note was given to the pilot, who declared an emergency and radioed for help.
The plane, which had over 260 passengers on board and more than a dozen staff, was then escorted by a RAF fighter jet to Manchester Airport. Police received the aircraft and arrested the passenger, who witnesses said had been sitting quietly in his seat and did not say anything.
A sweep of the aircraft quickly showed there was no threat:
A 47-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of making a bomb hoax after incident at Mcr Airport. Plane search complete and nothing found
— Greater Manchester Police (@gmpolice) August 5, 2014
Though some passengers said they were not informed of any emergency while onboard the plane, others said they learned about what happened by reading Twitter.
And other passengers grew agitated while onboard after seeing the fighter jet escort.
Qatar Airways yesterday confirmed a bomb threat had been received, but because of a police investigation, it could not comment any further.