Fighter jets escort flight from Manchester to Stansted

Fighter jets escort flight from Manchester to Stansted

Fighter jets have escorted a Pakistani passenger aircraft from Manchester to Stansted.

The RAF fighters were called into action to assist the Pakistan International Airlines aircraft, believed to be flight PIA709 carrying 297 people, which was diverted and has now landed at the Essex airport.

The Ministry of Defence said Typhoon aircraft were scrambled from RAF Coningsby to investigate the incident in UK airspace.

The plane was heading towards Manchester when it was re-routed near York, just 10 minutes before it was due to land. From there it headed towards the North Sea before travelling to Stansted.

It is understood the aircraft is now in an isolated stand away from passenger areas while the airport continues to operate as normal.

The airline has confirmed the aircraft was diverted after security concerns.

The Guardian reported that the pilot asked to divert to Stansted as a precaution because he was concerned about a disruptive passenger. The incident is not thought to be terror related.

In a statement, Essex Police confirmed they have boarded the plane and that two men have been removed from the plane and arrested on suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft.

A witness speaking in Urdu to Pakistani station Geo TV said that two men over 6 feet tall tried to enter the pilot's cabin, according to Sky News.

This image, taken from flightradar24.com, shows the diverted path of the flight.

PIA

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