Belgian man fined $1500 for Gladstone Airport bomb scare
MONDAY 10AM: The 50-year-old man responsible for a bomb scare, which led to the evacuation of Gladstone Airport on Friday afternoon, has been ordered to pay a $1500 fine.
Entering an early guilty plea at the Gladstone Magistrates Court, Raphael Gustaff Alida Sonck told the court he had not intended to incite fear in the community and was apologetic for the inconvenience he had caused to 200 people.
Mr Sonck appeared at the courthouse on one charge of bomb hoax- falsely state/inform bomb present after he mentioned explosives while being processed as a passenger.
Magistrate Russell Warfield acknowledged the severity of the crime, commenting such a crime could not be taken lightly, recording a conviction automatically and imposing a $1500 fine.
The Belgian man, who was intending to leave the country on Friday, surrendered his passport to police until the fine is processed.
MONDAY 8AM: A Belgian man allegedly responsible for a bomb threat that caused Gladstone Airport to be evacuated on Friday afternoon has been charged and will appear in the Gladstone Magistrates Court on Monday.
Approximately 200 passengers and employees were evacuated at about 4.30pm before the bomb threat was confirmed as a false alarm.
The man's luggage was inspected by a bomb technician officer on Friday afternoon and found to contain no explosives.
Four police officers attended the scene on Friday afternoon, when flights in and out of Gladstone were put on hold while the bomb threat situation was handled.
The 50-year-old alleged offender has been charged with one count of falsely stating a bomb was present and was released on bail on Friday night.
Police allege the man was being processed as a passenger when he spoke about having explosives in his luggage.
Business returned to normal at Gladstone Airport from about 6.15pm on Friday when flights were resumed.
FRIDAY 9.58PM: Police have charged a 50-year-old man today following an incident at the Gladstone Airport around 4.22pm today.
Police will allege the man was being processed as a passenger when he spoke about having explosives in his luggage.
The airport was evacuated and a police bomb technician cleared the man's luggage.
The 50-year-old has been charged with one count of falsely state bomb present and is due to appear in the Gladstone Magistrates Court on March 31.
FRIDAY 6.25PM: THE Gladstone Airport reopened at about 6.15pm following a bomb scare, which caused the terminal to be evacuated.
Approximately 200 passengers and employees were evacuated, among them mother Julie Chesterman, who had only just seperated from her six year-old son, travelling upon a Virgin flight as an unaccompanied minor.
Ms Chesterman was escorted to the muster area next to the administration building as her son sat idle on an aeroplane awaiting take off from the runway.
"It makes me feel very uneasy," she said.
"The police were here almost immediately, but I hope whoever is responsible gets severely punished."
The alleged suspects were a man wearing khaki clothing and a woman in an orange t-shirt, carrying matching black and brown backpacks.
Both were searched by police before being transported to Gladstone Police Station.
FRIDAY 4.44PM: A BOMB scare brought Gladstone Airport to a standstill on Friday afternoon when a man alerted attendees that he was carrying an explosive in his backpack.
Flights were neither arriving or departing from the airport, which was evacuated at about 4.30pm.
Police assured crowds the situation was under control and the airport would be fully operational again within 20 minutes.
Rodolf Poinsonnet's flight was delayed as a result of the scare.
"I think my wife may divorce me if my flight gets cancelled," he said.
"I am very keen to get home. I have lost two days of work because of the rain and now this. Bloody Queensland."
Mr Poinsonnet said he felt reassured by authorities that the incident would be dealt with quickly.
It has been reported that the police apprehended two suspects at the scene.