NEWS

Bomb hoax jars Rhodes passengers

A 28-year-old Rhodes man, suspected of calling the island’s international airport yesterday morning and telling authorities a bomb was on a scheduled Olympic Airlines (OA) flight to Athens, lied about the threat so he could spend more time with his girlfriend, who was registered as a passenger on the flight, local police said. Police said they managed to trace the alleged prankster because he had called the airport authorities from his mobile telephone. But passengers waiting to board the OA Flight 701 to Athens, which had been due to take off at 7.15 a.m., had to endure a one-and-a-half-hour delay as security officials searched their baggage as well as the aircraft before concluding that no suspect device had been planted. The alleged hoaxer, who was not identified by police, was due to explain his behavior to a Rhodes prosecutor yesterday. It was unclear whether his girlfriend, who was also not identified, had been aware of her boyfriend’s hoax.