Official: Situation on plane from Pakistan apparently not terror-related


Associated Press

Posted on May 24, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Updated Friday, May 24 at 11:04 AM

LONDON (AP) — A British security official says today's situation on board a commercial airliner from Pakistan to England doesn't appear to be terror-related, although police are still investigating.

The British military scrambled fighter jets to intercept the plane, diverting it to an isolated runway at an airport on the outskirts of London. Two British passengers were arrested on suspicion of endangering the aircraft.

The incident comes just days after a British soldier was killed on a London street in a suspected terror attack. Britain has been on alert for additional attacks.

One passenger told Pakistani TV that two men who had tried to move toward the cockpit during the flight were handcuffed and arrested once the plane landed. The passenger says 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.

Police say the suspects were taken to a police station, and the plane will be examined by forensic specialists. They say no suspicious items have been recovered so far.

Passengers have left the plane. They were also being interviewed by police.

A spokesman for Pakistan International Airlines says the airline had been unable to contact the pilot of the flight despite repeated attempts. He says 297 passengers and 11 crew were on the plane.

%@AP Links

190-v-32-(Charles de Ledesma, correspondent)--An incident on a Britain-bound Pakistan plane has led to some arrests, amid heightening tension over terrorism. Correspondent Charles de Ledesma reports. (replaces cut 181 with updated information) (24 May 2013)

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181-v-30-(Charles de Ledesma, correspondent)--Two men are being quesioned by police following an incident on a plane from Pakistan. Correspondent Charles de Ledesma reports. ((watch for dating)) (24 May 2013)

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APPHOTO LON821: Passengers disembark from Pakistan International Airlines flight PK709 bound for Manchester from Lahore, Pakistan, after it was diverted and landed at Stansted Airport, north of London, England, Friday May 24, 2013. The passenger plane was diverted following an incident on board, and two men were arrested on suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft after an RAF Typhoon jet was scrambled to escort the passenger plane traveling from Pakistan to the UK, police said. (AP Photo / Chris Radburn, PA) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES (24 May 2013)

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APPHOTO LON117: Undated photo issued by the British Ministry of Defence of an RAF Typhoon Aircraft of the type that has escorted a passenger plane into Stansted Airport in southern England following an incident on board Friday May 24, 2013. British media reported the flight was a Pakistan International Airlines passenger plane flying to Manchester, England. (AP Photo/ MOD via PA) (24 May 2013)

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