Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pakistani commercial jet diverted in Britain

LONDON — Britain scrambled fighter jets Friday to intercept a commercial airliner carrying more than 300 people from Pakistan, diverting it to an isolated runway at an airport on the outskirts of London and arresting two British passengers who allegedly threatened to destroy the plane.

The situation involving the Pakistan International Airlines flight did not appear terror-related, though police were still investigating, the Associated Press reported, citing a security official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation.

Flight P709 was traveling from Lahore, Pakistan, to Manchester Airport when it was diverted by the fighter jets to Stansted Airport. The U.K. Ministry of Defence confirmed that Typhoon jets were launched to investigate an incident involving a civilian aircraft but gave no further details.

Passenger Nauman Rizvi told Pakistan's GEO TV that two men who had tried to move toward the cockpit during the flight were handcuffed and arrested once the plane landed. Rizvi said that after the men were taken away, the flight crew told passengers there had been a terrorist threat and that the pilot had raised an alarm.

Essex police said they were notified at 1:20 p.m. local time that a threat had been made to an aircraft. The force said that after the Boeing 777 landed at 2:15 p.m., armed officers entered it and arrested two British nationals, aged 30 and 41, on suspicion of endangering the aircraft.

The suspects were taken to a police station where they face questioning, the police said in a statement. The plane will be examined by forensic specialists but no suspicious items have been recovered so far, police added.

"This incident is being treated as a criminal offense," the police statement said, in another indication it was not being seen as a terror case.

Mashood Tajwar, a spokesman for PIA, said 297 passengers and 11 crew members were on the plane. By late afternoon Friday, passengers had disembarked from the plane and were being interviewed, according to Mark Davison, a spokesman for Stansted Airport.

Pakistani commercial jet diverted in Britain 05/24/13 [Last modified: Friday, May 24, 2013 11:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84

    Nation

    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General

    Crime

    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.