Britain Scrambles Jets: 2 Men Arrested After Fighters Escort Pakistan Airlines Jet To Safety [UPDATE]
[UPDATE: Fri, 1:25] The two suspects arrested after Britain scrambled jets to bring a Pakistan Airlines jet to safety are aged 30 and 41 and are at a police station for questioning. The passengers of the Britain bound aircraft are also being questioned. Early indications are that the plane was not the target of a terrorist attack, according to Reuters.
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British authorities grounded a plane and subsequently arrested two men on an aircraft bound for Britain. The two men were arrested on suspicion of posing a danger to the aircraft and its nearly 300 passengers, Al Jazeera reports.
Royal Air Force fighter jets escorted the Pakistan International Airlines aircraft, carrying 297 passengers from Pakistan, to Stansted airport after a security alert was issued. The Daily Mail reports that two men were arrested at the airport after officers boarded the plane, which was initially bound for Manchester.
Apparently, a man on the aircraft, flight PK709, began shouting, prompting the pilot to issue a threat warning and to ask that the plane be diverted to a nearby airport. The plane was about 10 minutes from its destination.
The fighter jets were quickly dispatched and flew alongside the jet so that the pilots could see if anything was going on. "The purpose of going up is to investigate what the situation is. Often when a Quick Reaction Alert aircraft is launched the details are not known, but it is known that a signal has been sent," a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense said.
"Two men have been arrested on suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft," police in Essex, where Stansted is located, said in a statement. "They have been removed from the plane."
According to Daily Mail, a similar incident involving an aircraft on the very same path occurred in Sept. 2011. The plane, also bound for Manchester, was rerouted and grounded at Stansted because of a bomb scare.
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