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Two men in court over Stansted plane drama

PIA flight at Stansted Airport
The PIA flight was diverted to Stansted Airport on Friday Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Two men will appear in court later, after a plane travelling from Pakistan was diverted as it was about to land.

On Friday an RAF jet was scrambled to escort the Manchester-bound plane to Stansted Airport.

Essex Police say that taxi driver Tayyab Subhani, 30, and restaurant worker Mohammed Safdar, 41, both from Nelson in Lancashire, will appear at Chelmsford Magistrate Court.

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Passenger claims men repeatedly tried to get into cockpit

Passengers disembark the aircraft which was diverted from Manchester to Stansted in an apparent security alert Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association Images

According to one of the passengers, the aircraft's cabin crew said two men had repeatedly tried to get into the cockpit.

Umari Nauman told Sky News: "The cabin crew informed us that basically they tried to come into the cockpit a few times and because they had been asked not to do that they got into a bit of an argument with the crew and made a few threats."

She said all the passengers had been ordered to leave their possessions on board before leaving the plane.

Ms Nauman also said helicopters escorted the aircraft before landing.

'The flight is full of police' says passenger

An RAF Typhoon escorted the passenger plane to Stansted

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."

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."

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Passengers being taken off plane

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

"They will be taken to a reception centre in 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."

A Manchester Airport spokesman said:

"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.

Same plane involved in bomb scare in 2011

The very same plane was diverted to Stansted due to a bomb scare 2 years ago Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association Images

An MoD spokesman said the incident was now a police matter and "our involvement is over".

He said Typhoon jets can be scrambled after the pilot or crew of a passenger aircraft sends out an emergency signal.

"The purpose of going up is to investigate what the situation is," he said. "Often when a Quick Reaction Alert aircraft is launched the details are not known, but it is known that a signal has been sent. Part of the purpose of sending a Typhoon up is to have a look and see what they can see."

The very same plane on the very same flight - from Lahore to Manchester - had been diverted to Stansted on September 7 2011 due to a bomb scare.

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