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  1. ITV Report

Two arrested at Stansted after mid-air jet alert

Two men were arrested at Stansted Airport in Essex on suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft. Photo: ITV News

Two men have been arrested at Stansted Airport in Essex on suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft today after an RAF Typhoon jet was scrambled to escort a passenger plane travelling from Pakistan to the UK.

Essex officers boarded Pakistan International Airlines flight PK709, which had been bound for Manchester, after it landed at Stansted and removed the men from the plane.

The RAF jet was scrambled following an incident around 10 minutes before the plane, which departed from Lahore, was due to land in Manchester at 2pm.

The incident is not thought to be terrorism-related at this stage.

"Essex Police have boarded a passenger plane diverted to Stansted Airport and two men have been arrested on suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft. They have been removed from the plane."

– Essex Police
There were nearly 300 passengers on the PIA aircraft which was diverted to Stansted Credit: ITV Anglia / Serena Sandhu

Mahmouda Aslam, 50, from Prestwich, Manchester was at the airport awaiting her husband, Mohammed on the flight.

After speaking to her husband on his mobile, she said: "I said, 'Are you alright? Are you scared?' He said, 'We are all OK. The flight is full of police."

A Manchester Airport spokesman said: "A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft which was due to land at Manchester Airport at 1.30pm today has been diverted to our sister airport London Stansted, where the authorities are investigating.

"The plane - flight number PK709 - was travelling from Lahore and had 297 passengers on board. For further information for friends or family who were due to meet the flight at Manchester please call 0800 140 4007.

Emergency services on the scene at Stansted airport in Essex. Credit: ITV Anglia / Serena Sandhu

A spokesman for Stansted Airport said passengers were being taken off the plane.

"They will be taken to a reception centre on the airport where police may wish to interview them about what they have seen.

"At some point police and the airline will arrange for their onward transportation to Manchester."

Dozens of police officers were scrambled to Stansted airport in Essex after reports of a disturbance on board an aircraft. Credit: ITV Anglia / Serena Sandhu

At Stansted another worried relative Zohaib Sattar, 24, from Huddersfield, was awaiting his wife Iqra Anwar, 24 and his father Abdul Sattar, 57, both on the flight.

Zohaib Sattar said he spoke to his father on the phone after landing.

"They have taken two people off the plane and are checking the plane all over," he said.

"The rest are just sat there waiting for further information.

"My father said there was no warning or threat, all of a sudden the plane just turned around."

Mrs Aslam said she was "just glad the plane has landed", adding: "They are all just sat there, they can't even get out of the chairs.

"I'm feeling better because the police are on there."

The Pakistani International Airlines aircraft is parked on the northern edge of Stansted airport Credit: ITV News

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