Two arrested in UK after security alert on Pakistani plane

RAF jets scrambled to escort diverted aircraft to Stansted

Fri, May 24, 2013, 15:26

Two men were arrested at Stansted Airport on suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft today after RAF Typhoon jets was scrambled to escort a passenger plane travelling from Pakistan to the UK.

Police officers boarded Pakistan International Airlines flight PK709, which had been bound for Manchester, after it landed at Stansted and removed the men from the plane.

The RAF jet was scrambled following an incident about 10 minutes before the plane, which departed from Lahore carrying 297 passengers, was due to land in Manchester at 2pm. The incident is not thought to be terrorism-related and there were no reports of injuries.

Britain is on high alert after a soldier was hacked to death on a London street on Wednesday in what police are treating as a terrorist incident.

Stansted is one of London’s less busy airports, preferred as a location for handling airplane security incidents. A spokesman for the airport said the plane was being held in an isolated area and that the rest of the airport was operating as normal. Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said 10 fire engines had been sent to the airport.

“Typhoon aircraft from RAF Coningsby were launched today to investigate an incident involving a civilian aircraft within UK airspace; further details will be provided when known,” the Defence Ministry said. RAF Coningsby is a Royal Air Force base in Lincolnshire.

Britain launches military planes to intercept unidentified aircraft when they cannot be identified by other means, for example when the aircraft is not talking to air traffic controllers.