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Two Arrests Made After U.K. Jet Diverts Plane

12:32 PM, May 24, 2013   |    comments
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Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY

LONDON - Two men have been arrested after a Royal Air Force fighter jet was forced to escort a civilian plane carrying nearly 300 passengers from Pakistan bound for the United Kingdom to Stansted Airport, British officials said Friday.

The plane has landed and is on an isolated runway. Stansted is open and operating as normal. The flight had been due to land in Manchester but was diverted to Stansted on the outskirts of London.

Essex Police say that two men have been arrested on "suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft."

The two men have been removed from the plane, police said.

Pakistan International Airlines confirmed that its Flight P709 traveling from Lahore to Manchester was involved.

Spokesman Mashood Tajwar said the airline had been unable to contact the pilot of the airplane despite repeated attempts, adding that 297 passengers and 11 crew were on board the flight.

The incident is taking place amid heightened security following the murder this week of a British soldier in south-east London.

It is not immediately clear why the plane was diverted to Stansted when the plane was reported to be less than 10 minutes away from landing at Manchester.

All passengers have been removed from the plane, and there are no reports of injuries.

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