Passenger Flight Diverted After Cell Phone Found Onboard

LONDON (AP) -- A passenger flight from Portugal to Britain was diverted under an air force jet escort Tuesday after a cell phone was found onboard and mistaken for a suspicious object, the airline company said.

A Ministry of Defense spokeswoman said two air force fighter jets escorted the Thomson holiday company flight to Britain's Stansted airport, 30 kilometers (20 miles) northeast of London, where it landed safely at 7:41 p.m (20:41 GMT).

The flight, with 103 passengers and five crew on board, was en route from the holiday resort of Faro in southern Portugal to Coventry, in England's midlands region, when defense officials sent fighter jets to escort it to Stansted.

''A report had been received from air crew that a suspicious object had been found in the cabin by a passenger, the decision was made to divert the aircraft to Stansted as a precautionary measure,'' Kim Perks of Essex Police said.

A spokeswoman for Thomson said the phone did not belong to any of the passengers or crew onboard the plane.

''The pilot was informed and put emergency procedures into action as a precaution,'' the spokeswoman said.

Perks said the plane landed safely and passengers and crew had disembarked. A police bomb disposal unit was at the airport assessing the situation, but it remained open and was operating as normal.

A Ministry of Defense spokeswoman said explosives experts had also been called to attend.

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