Latest News Editor's Choice

News / International

Fighter Jets scramble in UK, Pakistan passenger Plane held

by Staff Reporter
24 May 2013 at 13:26hrs | Views
UK - A Pakistan International Airlines plane had been diverted from Manchester to Stansted Airport.

The BBC reports that two men are being held on suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft, Essex Police said.

Police said the men had been removed from the plane.

The plane, flight number PK709, reportedly left Lahore at 09:35 local time. It was due in at Manchester at 14:00 BST.

The MoD said responsibility for the incident had passed to Essex Police and the Home Office.

An MoD spokesman said the incident was now a police matter and that "our involvement is over".

He said Typhoon jets could be scrambled after the pilot or crew of a passenger aircraft sends out an emergency signal.

"The purpose of going up is to investigate what the situation is," he said.

"Often when a Quick Reaction Alert aircraft is launched the details are not known, but it is known that a signal has been sent.

"Part of the purpose of sending a Typhoon up is to have a look and see what they can see."

A Pakistan International Airlines spokesman Zufiqar Bijarani told CNN: "We have been told there may have been a bomb threat." But he did not say if he had anything to confirm or deny this.

Stansted Airport said on Twitter that it was operating normally.

Pakistan International Airlines said there were 308 passengers on board, as well as 14 crew including pilots, with a mixture of Pakistani and British passport holders.
'Serious incident'

Philip Baum, of Aviation Security International, told the BBC: "This is certainly a significant incident, however the fact that fighter jets were scrambled to intercept is not unusual.

"We don't know what the incident was: fighter jets are scrambled when there is a bomb threat, when there is a hijack, when the wrong transponder code is used or if an aircraft cannot communicate with the ground. Often the result is when there is an unruly passenger on board.

"What is interesting in this case is that it would appear that the aircraft was only 10 minutes from landing - these are initial reports coming in - when they decided to divert to Stansted. So to actually change a destination 10 minutes from landing would certainly imply that there was some serious incident taking place."

Source - BBC