Jittery Global Aviation: London’s RAF Typhoons Mad Scrambled to Assist Private Jet After Losing Contact; No Threat, False Alarm
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | July 25, 2014 2:02 PM EST
The mysterious disappearance of one commercial airliner four months ago, plus the three successive crash accidents in just the past week has definitely taken its toll on the jittery global aviation industry. On Wednesday, the British Armed Forces scrambled two of its Royal Air Force aircraft after air controllers lost contact with a private plane. London's military presumably believed the plane had been compromised.
A Russian Sukhoi Su-25 fighter plane lands as it arrives at Iraq's al-Muthanna military airbase at Baghdad airport, in Baghdad, July 1, 2014. Iraq's defence ministry said on Tuesday that the second batch of Russian Sukhoi (Su-25) fighter jets that arrived in Baghdad will be used to back Iraqi troops that continue to battle Islamic State militants, previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), in the country's northern provinces. REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS TRANSPORT MILITARY CONFLICT)
Air traffic controllers got concerned after they lost contact with the Learjet at 7 pm. The two fighter planes, identified as Typhoons, were deployed as a precaution measure.
When the RAF Typhoons were able to scour the London skies for the missing Learjet, they made sure to accompany it till it reached the London Stansted Airport in Essex, where it landed safely before 8 pm.
The private plane's three passengers were immediately questioned by members of the Essex Police.
"Military jets were deployed on a precautionary basis when a private jet was diverted to Stansted. This was due to a loss of communication with the aircraft," the Daily Mail quoted the Essex Police. "The aircraft landed safely at Stansted Airport at 7.49 pm. All three people who were on board have been spoken to by police, it was established that everything was in order and the police response was stood down."
The runway of the London Stansted Airport was closed for eight minutes before authorities decided to open it to resume normal operations.
The global aviation sector is currently worried over the spate of accidents involving commercial airliners which have killed dozens of lives in just a week's time alone.
"We can confirm that Typhoon aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby in their quick reaction alert role last night to investigate a civilian light aircraft which had lost radio contact with air traffic control," an RAF spokesman told the Daily Mail.
"Post an uneventful interception, the civilian aircraft was escorted to Stansted where it landed safely. The Typhoon aircraft then returned to base."
An unidentified spokesperson from the Ministry of Defence assured the Brits there was "no threat."
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