PASSENGERS were evacuated from a plane at Cardiff International Airport last night after a note was discovered claiming there was a bomb on board.
The flight from Edinburgh was disembarking when a passenger found the note, which was handed to cabin crew.
It indicated a bomb threat and resulted in the plane being swiftly emptied and a search carried out of the aircraft and baggage.
The threat was found to be a hoax, but police are investigating in a bid to ascertain who was responsible for the note. Criminal charges could still be pressed.
Jon Horne, the airport's managing director, said, "This evening BMIBaby flight WW2004 from Edinburgh landed at 6.30pm and as the passengers were disembarking it is believed that one of the passengers identified a note, which they passed to the cabin crew. That note indicated that there was a bomb on the aircraft."
He continued, "Following a short procedure in terms of assessing the threat, it was determined that, in reality, there wasn't a threat posed and the incident was stepped down."
Passengers with baggage had to wait while searches were carried out, and delays were caused to a flight waiting to use the plane to travel to Palma in Majorca.
A passenger on the plane, who wished to remain anonymous, said, "It was quite frightening. They seemed to be searching everybody's luggage."
If the note was a practical joke, the hoaxer could face serious charges.
Mr Horne said, "Clearly it is very serious and at the airport even passengers going through joking about bombs or guns could be prosecuted. That has happened in the past.
"We even have signage in the airport that that is the case, because it's something that you can't take any chances on. It's no joking matter."
The last high-profile hoax case occurred in 2003 when Matthew Murphy-Kitto, 23, from Gwaelod-y-Garth, near Cardiff, reportedly made 12 hoax calls to Bristol International Airport in revenge for missing out on promotion.
It's weird how it wasn't found until the aircraft was disembarking? Do you think that people are finally getting enough of these hoaxes, and letting their flight carry on as per normal and then inform the crew at the end? I know we've sort of had this discussion before but now it seems to be happening for real?