Maldives free British man after mid-air bomb scare

February 15, 2011 (AFP) – Maldives police have released a British man accused of sparking a bomb scare on a SriLankan Airlines flight, a spokesman said Tuesday, explaining he had been misunderstood by cabin crew. The airline faced attacks during Sri Lanka’s 37-year civil war that pitched Tamil Tiger rebels against government troops. Fighting ended in May 2009 when the military wiped out the Tigers’ top leaders. The unnamed elderly passenger was detained on Monday after a false alarm aboard a Colombo-London flight that made an emergency stop in the Maldives, an Indian Ocean atoll nation.

“It was a case of miscommunication between the elderly British passenger and the airline crew,” Maldivian police spokesman Ahmed Shiyam told AFP by telephone from the capital Male.

He said the passenger had alerted the crew to a “disturbance in the plane” and the crew had thought he was raising a bomb scare.

There was no immediate comment from the state-run SriLankan Airlines.