Two RAF fighters were scrambled to intercept a passenger aircraft en route from London Stansted to Dalman in Turkey on Saturday evening (June 22), after a violent and unruly female passenger was said to have tried to storm the cockpit raising terrorism fears.
The Typhoon jets, which can reach speeds of up to 1550 miles per hour, caused a sonic boom as they broke the sound barrier rushing to reach the passenger flight. This caused chaos as numerous people called the authorities to report the sound of explosions. For some time the news story was the reported explosions in Southern England before the incident with the aircraft was made public. “Essex Police,” reported a local newspaper, “had been inundated with 999 calls after houses were shaken and a loud blast was heard across the county at about 6.45pm.”
The airforce jets flew from RAF Coningsby, in Lincolnshire, and escorted the Jet 2 passenger plane, an Airbus A321, back to Stansted. The 25-year-old woman was arrested on landing on suspicion of assault and endangering an aircraft.
One passenger told the U.K. media that “after 45 minutes of being in the air, this lady who was clearly intoxicated gets called to the front of the plane and she starts shouting and screaming and runs to the airplane door… She then got pinned to the floor by cabin crew and passengers… She kept getting up and running back towards the door.”
Hertfordshire Police tweeted that “we have received numerous reports in the last hour of a loud explosion heard in Bishop’s Stortford and other locations on the eastern side of Hertfordshire. This is believed to relate to a military aircraft passing over the area and no cause for concern.”
Intel Sky and Air tweeted the Typhoon’s flight path, including its circling “just north of London.” It’s worth a look, it’s not every day that an RAF response to a potential terrorist incident in the air is captured in such detail.
A spokesperson for Jet 2 said that “we are aware of an incident regarding an extremely disruptive passenger on a flight from Stansted to Dalaman earlier this evening. The aircraft has returned safely and we are liaising with the relevant authorities to support their investigation. We are working hard to ensure the remaining customers reach their destination as soon as possible.”
For the RAF, notwithstanding the chaos and headlines, this will have been a welcome drill as to what would happen in the event of a real incident. Sky News produced a documentary in 2015 on how such an incident is managed, which can be seen here.
There was no immediate comment from the Ministry of Defence.
Panic As Airforce Intercepts U.K. Flight After Passenger Sparks Terrorism Hijack Fear – Forbes