LONDON: British police Friday arrested two air travelers on suspicion of endangerment of the aircraft after forcing a Pakistan International Airways (PIA) flight with 297 passengers on board to land at Stansted airport following a mid-air alert.
According to sources both the British nationality holder Pakistani nationals were arrested after they reportedly had a spat with the crew.
PIA here confirms the passengers had threatened to ‘explode’ the aircraft.” Misinterpretation of teri phar dun ga methinx.” – English Translation – I will blow your !$%$#$@ – on which pilot pressed the panic button.
According to PIA sources the suspects had allegedly threatened to bomb the plane with explosives. A panicked stewardess alarmed the pilot, Captain Nadeem Sufi, who sent a stress signal to London control tower triggering the security alert, which led to the force-landing of the plane.
Essex Police said that two men have been arrested and removed from the plane, which is on an isolated runway at the airport.
Earlier, Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon jets were scrambled to intercept the PIA flight, which escorted the Manchester-bound flight to Stansted.
Flight PK709 from Lahore was due to land at Manchester Airport in north west England at 1230 GMT. The plane was diverted to Stansted airport, east of central London, according to a Manchester Airport spokesman.
Essex Police, who are responsible for the area where Stansted is located, said an incident had occurred on a flight and they were investigating.
“The plane diverted to Stansted Airport has now landed at the airport. Police + partners are continuing to respond,” Essex Police in southeast England said in a Twitter message.
The news comes two days after a soldier was hacked to death on a London street in an incident the government are treating as a terrorist incident.