A Thomson holiday jet carrying 189 British holidaymakers came ‘within 1,000ft’ of being blown up as it approached Sharm el-Sheikh two months ago, according to new reports.
The Daily Mail suggests that the jet changed its flight path when the pilot spotted a missile approaching from the ground on August 23. The British tourists on board were not told of the incident, as the plane touched down in the holiday resort.
The news emerges amid fresh claims ISIS have a British mole at Sharm el-Sheikh airport, and just weeks after the Russian Metrojet crashed in Sinai after taking off from there, with experts now saying it was brought down by a bomb.
An unnamed source told the Daily Mail:
The first officer was in charge at the time but the pilot was in the cockpit and saw the rocket coming towards the plane. He ordered that the flight turn to the left to avoid the rocket, which was about 1,000ft away.
The crew were told the rocket was from an Egyptian military exercise, but with what has happened there is a lot of fear. The incident left staff petrified.
Apparently, the crew had no idea about the rocket until after the incident and were offered overnight accommodation in the resort destination. Many instead opted to fly straight home on a flight with no internal or external lights.
ISIS affiliated Sinai Province who are known to be in the area are thought to be involved in both the shooting down of the Metrojet plane and the incident with the Thomson plane.
After initially declining to comment, Thomson have now issued a statement:
Thomson Airways can confirm that an event was reported by the crew of flight TOM 476 on 23rd August 2015. Upon landing into Sharm el-Sheikh, an initial assessment was conducted and the event was immediately reported to the UK Department for Transport (DfT) in line with established protocol.
The DfT conducted a full investigation in conjunction with other UK Government experts. After reviewing the details of the case, the investigation concluded that there was no cause for concern and it was safe to continue our flying programme to Sharm el Sheikh.
Tourism is key to the Egyptian economy, bringing in hundreds of millions each year. If the industry were to dry up due to fear, it would likely become a hotbed for extremism.