Feeds

RAF fighters intercept 'silent' Jumbo

Major security alert over Manchester-bound flight

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Two RAF fighters last Friday intercepted a Manchester-bound Boeing 747 after it failed to respond to air traffic controllers, the BBC reports. Pakistan Airlines flight PK 709 - carrying 81 passengers plus crew - should have made contact with controllers as it entered UK airspace. Air traffic controllers in Maastricht lost touch with the aircraft as it left Northern Europe.

The fighters escorted the plane from the Lincolnshire coast until it got to within 40 miles of Manchester, at which point the pilot checked in and subsequently landed 20 minutes later. The crew were reportedly unaware of the security alert they had sparked, and claimed that they were unable to contact Manchester and therefore spoke to London controllers instead. National Air Traffic Services (NATS) denies this, adding that the RAF flyboys would not have been put in the air had this been the case.

Pakistan Airlines is investigating the matter, and NATS has reported the incident to the Civil Aviation Authority.

A spokesman for the RAF declined to go into specifics of the case, but noted that the RAF responded with "well practised defence measures" designed to deal with any airborne threat "believed to be about to launch an attack such as those seen on September 11 2001". There seems little doubt, therefore, that had the pilot not contacted air traffic control when he did, his aircraft would shortly thereafter have been shot down. The final call on whether or not to destroy an airliner rests with unnamed senior officials. The spokesman told The Register that such "assessments and decisions would be made at the highest level". ®

Related stories

Sex toy creates Oz airport pandemonium
Novelty farting dog sparks US terror alert
Flight Sim enquiry raises terror alert

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia
Keepsakes from early NASA, Soviet programs up for bids
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.