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
updated 8:56 AM EDT, Mon May 27, 2013
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
updated 6:49 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
updated 7:03 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
updated 8:26 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
updated 3:39 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
Jenson Button has some of quickest reactions ever shown at an advanced sports lab.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
updated 10:09 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
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