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RAF jets escort diverted passenger plane after reported bomb threat

Picture taken with permission from the Twitter feed of DinoGoel showing activity at London's Stansted Airport around an Air India Boeing 777 aircraft which was flying from Mumbai to Newark in the US before it turned round and landed at the airport after a reported bomb threat. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday June 27, 2019. See PA story AIR Stansted. Photo credit should read: DinoGoel/PA Wire

By Ted Hennessey, PA

A passenger plane has been escorted by two RAF Typhoon jets to London Stansted Airport after a reported bomb threat.

The jets were launched from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire to escort the Air India Boeing 777 civilian aircraft, which was flying from Mumbai to Newark in the US.

Air India had tweeted that the plane made a "precautionary landing" due to a bomb threat, but later deleted it.

A loud bang was heard by several residents of Derby just after 10am, believed to be a sonic boom caused by the two RAF jets escorting the plane to the airport.

The runway at Stansted has reopened and is fully operational while the aircraft is parked on an isolated stand, as Essex Police make inquiries.

A video posted on Twitter showed dozens of police officers checking luggage with sniffer dogs at the airport, as passengers watched on.

Responding to reports the plane was back in the air, one Twitter user, with the handle @DinoGoel, said all passengers had disembarked.

He tweeted: "We are all being brought safely to a holding area here inside the airport building.

"It's a slow process because every passenger is being disembarked, frisked, all bags sniffed by dogs."

An RAF spokesman said: "The RAF can confirm Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft were launched this morning from RAF Coningsby to intercept a civilian aircraft.

"The aircraft was safely escorted to Stansted Airport. The Typhoon aircraft were authorised to transit at supersonic speed for operational reasons; any inconvenience caused to local residents is regretted."

Pic by DinoGoel/PA Wire