Skip to main content

2 men charged after flight from Pakistan diverted in UK airspace

By Laura Smith-Spark. Shaan Khan and Nic Robertson, CNN
May 27, 2013 -- Updated 1256 GMT (2056 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An altercation on board caused a plane from Pakistan to the UK to be diverted
  • Two passengers "threatened to blow up the plane," Pakistan's high commissioner says
  • Two men were arrested and removed from the diverted aircraft, Essex police say
  • The Pakistan International Airlines flight to Manchester was diverted to Stansted

Editor's note: Are you there? Share your photos and videos.

London (CNN) -- Two men have been charged with endangering an aircraft, police in Britain said Sunday. An altercation they were allegedly involved in caused a flight from Pakistan to the UK to be diverted Friday.

A UK fighter jet was scrambled to escort Pakistan International Airlines Flight PK709 as it was diverted from northwestern England's Manchester Airport to Stansted airport near London.

Essex police, who cover the area near Stansted, said officers arrested Tayyab Subhani, 30, and Mohammed Safdar, 41, and removed them from the plane, which had 297 passengers aboard. The flight originated in Lahore.

The men are to appear in court Monday.

Pakistan flight escorted by fighter jets

Wajid Hasan, Pakistan's high commissioner to the United Kingdom, told CNN that the two passengers "got into an altercation with air stewardesses and threatened to blow up the plane."

The flight attendants contacted the pilot, who contacted UK air traffic control authorities, who then scrambled the fighter jet, he said.

The plane later continued on to Manchester from Stansted after all the passengers and cargo were screened, a process that took about four hours, according to the high commissioner's office.

Passengers arriving at Stansted told CNN they were delayed by what several called a "terrorist scare." Police have not mentioned terrorism in connection with the incident.

Runways reopen after emergency landing at London Heathrow Airport

CNN's Laura Smith-Spark wrote and reported in London, where Nic Robertson also reported, and Shaan Khan reported in Islamabad. CNN's Aliza Kassim, Claudia Rebaza, Per Nyberg, and Bharati Naik contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 2001 GMT (0401 HKT)
The U.S. has promised to supply and train "acceptable" rebels in Syria to counter ISIS. But who are they and are can the strategy work?
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 0039 GMT (0839 HKT)
Branded an "extremist" by China's state-run media, Joshua Wong isn't even old enough to drive.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0655 GMT (1455 HKT)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised political pundits with his rapid rise to power. CNN meets the man behind the enigma.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Liverpool's Italian forward Mario Balotelli reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Liverpool and Ludogorets Razgrad at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool on September 16, 2014.
British police launched an investigation into abusive tweets sent to Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli.
September 21, 2014 -- Updated 2344 GMT (0744 HKT)
A woman who was texting her husband before he was killed reflects on the Westgate attack.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
The real secret to a faster commute has been with us all along -- the bus.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
13 brands retained their Top 20 status from last year, according to an annual survey.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1549 GMT (2349 HKT)
Think your new tattoo is cool? Look at how our ancestors did it and think again.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1100 GMT (1900 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT