2 Pakistanis charged over PIA mid-air plane scare

PRESS TRUST OF INDIA

London, May 26: Two Pakistani-origin men have been charged with endangering an aircraft after UK fighter jets were scrambled this week to escort a PIA plane that was diverted to the nation's designated counter-terrorism airport.
 Tayyab Subhani, 30, and Mohammed Safdar, 41, both British of Pakistani origin, were detained at Stansted Airport after armed policemen boarded the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight from Lahore to Manchester on Friday.
 The defendants, from Nelson in Lancashire, north-west England, will appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court tomorrow. Essex Police said the men will remain in custody ahead of their court appearance.
 Flight PK709 left Lahore on Friday and had been due to arrive in Manchester when it was diverted to Stansted after the pilot issued a signal for Air Traffic Control.
 The RAF jets were scrambled from their base in Coningsby, Lincolnshire, to escort the Boeing 777 to a safe landing.
 The plane remained at a spot on the north side of Stansted Airport with flights carrying on as normal and it was released by police around midnight, allowing passengers to conclude their flight to Manchester.
 The airline said there had been 308 passengers, including 14 crew and pilots, on board with a mixture of Pakistani and British passport holders.
 According to some airline sources, a threat to blow up the plane arose from a family row that erupted on-board with the staff alerting the authorities as a precaution.
 A passenger told the BBC that the pilot had informed them about threats. "We did not know anything about it other than the pilots announced that they have landed at Stansted. And we landed, safely. Then he announced that he had a threat from someone, which was why he had landed the plane," the passenger said.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 26 May 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 26 May 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 27 May 2013 00:00:00 IST




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