A flight from Italy was put on a temporary lockdown at Dublin Thursday, officials said, after a passenger wrote "be careful, Ebola" on a coffee cup. The Aer Lingus jet was preparing to land at Dublin Airport when a passenger handed the cup to a member of the flight crew, according to the source. The official, who asked not to be named, said this prompted the pilot to contact authorities on the ground and make an announcement to passengers that the crew was dealing with a security alert.
Aer Lingus said in a statement that "as a precaution, passengers and crew were temporarily detained" on the runway after landing "while the matter was investigated." Several people who said they had relatives aboard the plane tweeted about the scare. "The plane dad is on is still sitting on the tarmac of Dublin Airport," @Odie_G wrote. "The man made the Ebola threat by writing on a coffee cup. So scary."
The Airbus A320 had flown from Milan and the writing on the cup was in Italian, according to an airline source that confirmed the relatives' tweets were accurate. "I suspect it may have been a joke among the passengers and they forgot it was on the cup when they handed it in before landing," they added. "But the crew needs to take these incidents seriously, and they did." The Irish Mirror reported the person suspected of writing the message was expected to be questioned by authorities.
- Alexander Smith