UK fighters escort Pak plane to airport, 2 arrested

  • Dipankar De Sarkar, Hindustan Times, London
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  • Updated: May 25, 2013 09:55 IST

Two men were arrested from aboard a Pakistan International Airways (PIA) plane on Friday following a security alert that saw British fighter jets scramble and escort it to Stansted airport in southeast England.
The men, aged 30 and 41, were arrested for endangering the safety of the aircraft but there was no official mention of a terrorist threat. The incident came at a time of high alert in Britain following this week’s killing of an unarmed soldier in London.
Flight PK709 from Lahore was scheduled to land in the town of Manchester at 2 pm, but just 10 minutes before touchdown Royal Air Force Typhoons scrambled to escort it to Stansted, the preferred airport for handling security incidents.
Police from Essex county then boarded the plane and arrested the men, who were led down in handcuffs. All 308 passengers and 14 crew were unharmed, the airlines said.
PIA spokesman Mashood Tajwer said traffic control Manchester airport had received what could have been a “threat call.”
Passenger Nauman Rizvi told Pakistan’s GEO TV that the two men had tried to enter the cockpit during the flight. Rizvi said that after the men were led away, crew members told passengers there had been a terrorist threat and that the pilot had raised an alarm.
It was not known if the men were armed.

BA plane’s engine catches fire
London: At least three people suffered minor injuries after a British Airways flight on Friday made an emergency landing at London’s Heathrow Airport when one of the engines of the aircraft caught fire, forcing authorities to briefly shut down the airport. Airport authorities have said that the airport is now “fully operational”. PTI


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