A plane full of passengers was evacuated moments before takeoff after a bomb threat was emailed to air traffic control

  • A British Airways flight had to be evacuated when a bomb threat was emailed to Bermuda Airport.

  • An audio recording shows the pilot repeatedly requesting emergency services and stairways.

  • After over 40 minutes on the runway, the 197 people were evacuated.

A bomb threat moments before takeoff saw nearly 200 British Airways passengers evacuated onto the tarmac at an airport on the Atlantic island of Bermuda.

According to a recording of communications between the pilots and controllers, the Boeing 777 had been cleared to take off to London when an urgent message came from air traffic control.

"Speedbird 18B cancel takeoff clearance, cancel takeoff clearance," the controller said. "We have received some information regarding a bomb threat."

The controller said the airport duty office received an email saying there was a bomb on board the plane, which was carrying 197 people.

They then told the pilots to stay on the runway, as they figured out how to deal with the threat.

The pilot is heard staying calm as he requests "full emergency services" but repeatedly asks for updates on the evacuation.

"It's 40 minutes now since you gave us the bomb threat. We really should have fire engines surrounding the aircraft," he said.

As the plane waited for the airport to bring stairs, the pilot said: "If they take much longer, we will be using the slides."

Eventually, the stairs did arrive, and the passengers were evacuated. Videos shared on social media show dozens of people standing on the tarmac.

It isn't clear if the bomb threat was legitimate or a hoax, but the 777 involved in the incident — tail number G-VIIN — has flown twice since, flying from Bermuda to London on Monday and from London to Nassau in the Bahamas on Tuesday.

Bermuda L. F. Wade International Airport told Business Insider in a statement that the incident is still being investigated.

"Flight operations at L.F. Wade International Airport continue as scheduled while the Bermuda Police Service and local and international aviation security officials continue to investigate the incident," the statement read.

"Airport authorities regret the inconvenience caused to passengers affected by this incident. The safety and security of all passengers, personnel, and airport users remains the highest priority."

In a statement shared with Business Insider, a British Airways spokesperson said: "The safety of our customers and colleagues is always our highest priority and we followed our standard procedures to disembark the aircraft."

"Our teams are caring for our customers and supporting crew as we work to get them on their way as soon as possible," they added.

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