TWO RAF typhoon fighter jets were forced to intercept a passenger plane which landed at London Stansted airport after "suspicious objects" were found in an onboard toilet, with two men now being held under the Terrorism Act.
The flight from Vienna was surrounded by police after landing at the Essex airport around 7.20pm today. Essex Police boarded the plane and removed two men after the discovery in the toilet. Essex Police said in a statement: "Counter Terrorism Policing officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit have this evening (Sunday) detained two men under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act (2000). "Enquiries are ongoing."
A spokesperson for London Stansted Airport confirmed the plane had landed safely on the ground following the police incident.
Passengers on board took to social media and revealed the plane had been parked up in a “remote area” before being surrounded by police.
Both of the typhoon fighter jets circled the airport several times before the passenger plane had landed at the scene.
The jets are believed to have then headed towards Cheltenham to be refuelled before returning towards base at RAF Coningsby.
Some reports claim the jets were responding to an urgent call-out known as a Quick Reaction Alert or QRA.
Passenger Joanna Czechowska said they had been held for an hour with armed police surrounding them.
On Twitter, she wrote: “Our plane is being held with armed police all around.
“We have been here for an hour now. They told us to put our seat belts back on.
“We are parked in a remote area. Nothing happening yet.
“The police have come on board and taken two men away.
“They found suspicious objects in the toilets and called the police.
“All seems OK now. That was scary!”
A Ryanair spokesman said: “The crew of a Ryanair flight from Vienna to London Stansted this evening (30 Aug) alerted of a potential security threat on board.
"In line with procedures, the captain informed UK authorities and continued to London Stansted, where the aircraft landed normally and taxied to a remote stand where passengers disembarked safely.
"Passengers in London Stansted waiting to depart to Vienna were transferred to a spare aircraft to minimise the delay to their flight. This is now a matter for the local police”.
A spokesman for the airport said that police had been called after an incident on a plane, but did not provide any more details.
An RAF spokesman said: "Typhoon fighter aircraft from RAF Coningsby were launched this evening to intercept a civilian aircraft.
"The aircraft was escorted safely to Stansted."
This comes just days after officials in hazmat suits reportedly dragged a coronavirus
-infected passenger off a Ryanair flight after he broke quarantine rules.
Dramatic video shows the moment the passenger was "offloaded" after he had taken his seat despite receiving a text message from the Government telling him he had caught the deadly virus.
A Rynair spokesman said: "A passenger who boarded a flight from London Stansted to Pisa on Wednesday, August 26, received a text message notification before departure that he had tested positive for Covid
"The passenger and his travel companion were immediately offloaded and taken to a Stansted Airport isolation area where they were assisted by local public health authorities.
"Since this passenger and his companion had complied fully with Ryanair health regulations, they were both wearing masks at all times at Stansted Airport and for the very short period - less than 10 minutes - they were seated on the aircraft prior to departure.
"There was little if any risk of Covid
-19 transmission to other passengers or crew members as all of whom were also wearing face masks at all times.
"The aircraft departed for Pisa following a delay of 1hr 20 mins to allow for the empty seats and overhead cabin bins to be disinfected to comply with all UK health authority guidance. Ryanair apologises to all passengers for this short delay."