Misread Israeli toy label prompts bomb scare on Greek plane

An Aegean Airlines aircraft © Alkis Konstantinidis
An Aegean Airlines plane was temporarily held up at Cyprus’ Larnaca airport after a cleaner found a box with a doll from Israel and took the inscription on the label for a bomb threat.

The Greek airline’s cleaning staff found a box labeled “booba” on Tuesday while the plane was in Cyprus before setting off for Tel Aviv. The word means “doll” in Hebrew, but a maintenance man mistook it for “bomba,” the Greek word for “bomb.”

The brief panic that ensued caused the flight to be delayed while Larnaca airport police searched the passenger jet for explosives.

They discovered nothing suspicious and the plane was cleared for take-off.

“Cyprus’s civil aviation authority checked [the box] and there was no problem. There was a small delay, but the [bomb alarm] was lifted immediately,” an Aegean Airlines spokeswoman in Athens told Reuters.

This is only the latest bomb scare in Europe resulting from confusion or false alarms.

On Monday, a 62-year-old Spanish tourist, reportedly wearing red trousers and a pink shirt, entered a restricted area because he “just picked the wrong route,” prompting part of Cologne Bonn Airport to be evacuated and delaying flights for some 2,500 passengers.

READ MORE: Lost Spanish tourist triggers security red alert at Cologne Airport

In another “misunderstanding” on May 16, a Ryanair flight to Manchester about to take off from Rygge airport near Oslo, Norway’s capital, was evacuated after two arguing passengers were reportedly misheard saying the word “bomb.”

In April, suspicious luggage characterized as a major “security threat” caused the partial evacuation of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The air hub was given the all-clear and services returned to normal after military police arrested a man, reportedly a vagabond, whose possessions were deemed suspicious.

This latest mishap comes as the US State Department has effectively warned American tourists against visiting Europe this summer because of a “risk of potential terrorist attacks.” The latest major assault in Europe occurred on March 22 in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, where several blasts at an airport and in a downtown metro station killed 32 people and injured 340. That attack was claimed by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).