UK Police: 5 From Diverted NY-Bound Plane Claim Asylum

Flight 985 was forced to make an emergency landing in Scotland on Saturday after a threatening note was found in the plane's lavatory

Monday, Jun 17, 2013  |  Updated 10:53 AM EDT
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British fighter jets escorted a flight bound for New York from Cairo, Egypt, to an emergency landing in Scotland after a passenger found a threatening note on board, according to officials.  Jonathan Vigliotti reports.

Jonathan Vigliotti

British fighter jets escorted a flight bound for New York from Cairo, Egypt, to an emergency landing in Scotland after a passenger found a threatening note on board, according to officials. Jonathan Vigliotti reports.

Scottish authorities say that five passengers from a New York-bound EgyptAir flight that was diverted to Britain over an apparent threat to destroy the aircraft are now seeking asylum in Britain.

Flight 985 was forced to make an emergency landing in Scotland on Saturday after a threatening note was found in the plane's lavatory.

The BBC said one of its producers, Nada Tawfik, had discovered the note, written in pencil on a napkin, with the words "I'll set this plane on fire." She said that after discovering the note by the bathroom sink, she alerted cabin crew, who then locked the toilet.
 
British Typhoon fighter jets escorted the plane to Glasgow's Prestwick Airport, where the flight was met by a heavy police presence, but no arrests were made and the flight was eventually cleared to carry on its journey to the U.S.

The plane landed at JFK airport in New York Sunday morning.
 
A spokeswoman for police in Scotland said that five people out of the flight's roughly 300 passengers were now claiming asylum.

Speaking from Cairo, EgyptAir CEO Tawfeek Asi identified the passengers as Syrians, although the Scottish police spokeswoman said she could not provide any information about their nationality.
 
Britain's Home Office, which is responsible for matters of immigration and asylum, declined to comment Sunday.

Passengers who had been on the flight said airplane crew told them they were making an emergency landing because of a technical problem and that the plane was surrounded by snipers in Scotland.

"We descended fairly quickly and made a smooth landing and then, as we got on the ground, we realized police were surrounding the airplane," said Carol Gable.

Police kept passengers in the Glasgow airport for about three hours, conducting interviews with all of them and taking DNA samples.

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