Two arrested on diverted flight

Essex Police have arrested two men on suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft after a Pakistan International Airlines plane was diverted from Manchester to Stansted. Two RAF Typhoon jets were scrambled to escort the passenger jet to the ground.

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Men arrested on diverted flight both British nationals

Essex Police said the two men arrested on suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft are both British nationals.

The men, aged 30 and 41, are currently at a police station where they will be interviewed by detectives.

The Pakistan International Airlines flight PK709 bound for Manchester from Lahore was diverted to Stansted Airport. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Essex Police said the plane that was diverted to Stansted Airport will remain at its current location until it is examined by forensic experts.

"At this point in time no suspicious items have been recovered", Superintendent Darrin Tomkins said.

"This incident is being treated as a criminal offence and remains under the direction of Essex Police", he added.

PIA plane will be 'subject to forensic examination'

Essex Police said the Pakistan International Airlines plane that was diverted to Stansted Airport earlier today will be "subject to forensic examination by specialist officers":

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PIA: Airline was unable to contact plane's pilot

Pakistan International Airlines spokesman Mashood Tajwar said the airline had been unable to contact the pilot of flight PK709, despite repeated attempts.

The Pakistan International Airlines flight was diverted to Stansted Airport. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Mr Tajwar said the control tower at Manchester Airport had received a call about a threat on board the plane and the advised the pilot to divert to its sister airport of Stansted.

Passengers say men 'tried to enter' plane's cockpit

A passenger told Pakistan's GEO TV that the two men arrested on board a Pakistan International Airlines plane had tried to move towards the cockpit during the flight.

Nauman Rizvi told the news channel that after the men were taken away by police, the flight crew told passengers there had been a terrorist threat and that the pilot had raised an alarm.

Passengers disembark the PIA flight PK709 at Stansted Airport after it is diverted. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Another passenger, 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".

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

She also said helicopters escorted the aircraft before landing.

Passenger tells relative there was 'no warning or threat'

A relative of two PIA flight passengers said he spoke to his father on the phone after the plane landed at Stansted Airport.

Zohaib Sattar said his father Abdul told him there was "no warning or threat" before the flight was diverted.

Police vehicles pictured next to the PIA plane at Stansted Airport. Credit: ITV News

Zohaib Sattar said: "They have taken two people off the plane and are checking the plane all over.

"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".

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Passengers being taken off diverted plane at Stansted

The Pakistan International Airlines plane pictured at Stansted Airport. Credit: ITV News

Stansted Airport said passengers were being taken off the Pakistan International Airlines plane.

A spokesperson said the passengers "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", they added.

Manchester Airport: Authorities investigating incident

A Manchester Airport spokesman said the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight had been due to land at 1:30pm, but was diverted to London Stansted "where the authorities are investigating".

The Pakistan International Airlines plane pictured at Stansted Airport. Credit: ITV News

The 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".

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