Two arrested after plane diverted in the UK
on 21/09/2013 09:03:47
Officers boarded the plane and arrested the pair on suspicion of endangering an aircraft.
Essex Police this morning said the investigation was a criminal matter rather than a terrorism inquiry.
Both arrested men, aged 49 and 57, are British nationals, the police said.
The 49-year-old is being treated for a medical condition, not an injury, in hospital.
The force said: "The 49-year-old is currently receiving medical treatment in hospital and the other is in custody at Harlow police station.
"They will be interviewed by detectives. The incident is being treated as a criminal investigation.
"All passengers left the aircraft safely and have travelled onwards to Heathrow by coach."
The Sri Lankan Airlines A330 Airbus, which was carrying 267 passengers and crew, was due to land at Heathrow Airport but was diverted to the Essex airport just after 7.30pm.
The remaining passengers are being looked after at a reception centre at Stansted and are due to be transferred to Heathrow this morning.
A spokesman for Stansted said last night: "Stansted Airport can confirm a Sri Lankan Airlines Airbus A330 diverted into Stansted at approximately 19.30 this evening.
"The aircraft, which was flying from Columbo to Heathrow, landed safely with Essex Police in attendance.
"The airport is open and flights are arriving and departing as normal."
A spokesman for Essex Police added: "Essex Police officers boarded the aircraft and arrested two men on suspicion of endangering an aircraft.
"The passengers have been removed safely. Enquiries are ongoing."
A passenger overheard a man claiming "there was something on the plane in the hold baggage", and reported it to the crew, a source said.
The information was relayed to the pilot who consulted with police and took the decision to land at Stansted rather than continue to Heathrow.
The source said: "The plane was flying in when a passenger overheard a man saying there was something on the plane in the hold baggage.
"Obviously, they have to take it very seriously and go through their procedures and protocols and contact the police."