Aditya Verma was going on vacation to Spain with friends on an easyJet flight in July 2022.
Per the BBC, he sent a Snapchat: “On my way to blow up the plane (I’m a member of the Taliban).”
He is currently facing public disorder charges in Spain after the country’s air force scrambled jets.
An airline passenger who prompted the Spanish Air Force to scramble fighter jets after he joked about blowing up the plane he was on appeared in court on Monday, the BBC reported.
Aditya Verma was 18 when he and his friends traveled with easyJet from London Gatwick Airport to the Spanish island of Menorca in July 2022.
The BBC reports that before departing, he told a friend on Snapchat: “On my way to blow up the plane (I’m a member of the Taliban).”
Security services saw the message and flagged it to Spanish authorities who sent two F-18 jets to follow the airliner until it landed, per the BBC.
“The intention was never to cause public distress or cause public harm,” Verma told the court.
He faces a public disorder charge, which could result in him being ordered to pay over $120,000 if found guilty.
Around $103,000 of that is from the Spanish defense ministry for the cost of scrambling the fighter jets.
According to the Telegraph, Verma told the court he first thought the jets were flanking the plane as part of a military exercise related to the Russia-Ukraine war.
Verma’s lawyer told the court it was a “bad joke,” but emphasized it was one made in private with friends.
“Aditya didn’t put his message on Facebook or advertise it. What he did was the equivalent of making a joke inside a car with friends,” she said, per the Telegraph.
“This boy was 18 years old and was beginning a holiday which was a reward for his school excellence. When he and his friends landed in Menorca, they realized they were in a nightmare.”
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