By Eliza Mackintosh, Published: May 24
LONDON — Two passengers on board a Pakistan International Airlines flight were arrested Friday on suspicion of endangering an aircraft after Britain scrambled two Royal Air Force Typhoon jets to investigate and escort the plane to safety.Flight PK709 from Lahore, Pakistan, to Manchester, England, was diverted at 1:20 p.m. local time to Stansted Airport, northeast of London. The plane, with 297 passengers on board, landed safely and was being held in an isolated area. Essex police confirmed the arrests of two passengers, who are British nationals, ages 30 and 41. The incident was being treated as a criminal offense and both men were being questioned, officials said. There were no reports of injuries.
Mashood Dajwar, a spokesman for Pakistan International Airlines, said the incident began when the two passengers in question threatened a flight attendant. The attendant communicated the threat to the pilot, who passed on the concern to air traffic control in Manchester. Dajwar said he could not elaborate on the nature of the alleged threat but said the two men later said they were only making a joke.
After concerns were conveyed to authorities in Manchester, the flight was diverted to Stansted — one of two airports in Britain designated for managing security threats. Continue reading