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7 September 2011, 17:21
A plane bound for Manchester Airport has been forced to land in Turkey after a Pakistani airline received bomb threats by email.
The plane was en route to Manchester this afternoon when officials in Islamabad received the terror warning, a Pakistani International Airlines chief said.
All 347 passengers are safe while bomb disposal teams carry out searches on the grounded PK709 jet in Istanbul, he added.
A total of 323 economy passengers, 24 first class passengers and 16 crew were ushered off the plane as sniffer dogs carried out searches at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, Captain Tasneem Mozaffar, head of global operations for the airline, said.
A plane due to land in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has also been forced to land while security officials carry out checks, he said.
Manchester Airport confirmed it had been told of the incident surrounding the flight which had taken off from Lahore.
A spokesman added:
'I can confirm that flight PK709 travelling to Manchester from Lahore, which was due to land at 4.10pm, has been diverted to Istanbul.
'We have yet to receive detailed information as to why the plane landed in Turkey and we are awaiting updates as to when the plane will take off again for Manchester.
'We understand that there are 347 passengers on board who were due to land at Terminal 2.
'We will be working alongside the airline to ensure that we are able to provide more information to passengers and members of the public who were due to pick up passengers from the flight.'
The scare came amid heightened alert for airlines in the build-up to memorials to mark 10 years since the September 11 terror atrocities.