ROME – A British plane made an emergency landing in southern Italy Friday after the captain reported a bomb threat, but a search of the aircraft turned up no explosives.
Excel Airways, which operated the Boeing 767, said the captain decided to land in Brindisi, Italy after a passenger found a note on an airsickness bag that read: "There's a bomb on this aircraft."
"Nothing was found on board. It was a false alarm," said Salvatore De Paolis, a border police officer at the Brindisi airport.
Italy's Air Force said it sent an F-16 to escort the plane to the airport, where all 269 passengers and nine crew members safely disembarked.
It was not clear who wrote the note, but De Paolis said it was probably a passenger on a previous flight.
"The bag was inside the seat pocket. The writing wasn't visible, and wouldn't have been seen by the cleaning crew," he said.
Excel said the flight from London's Gatwick airport was expected to depart later Friday for the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, Egypt, a common destination for low-cost flights from Europe.
There has been a series of aviation-related terror alerts and scares in the wake of British authorities' announcement last week that they had foiled a plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights with liquid explosives.