October 29, 2014 / 5:58 PM / 3 years ago

British jets intercept Latvian plane over southern England

LONDON (Reuters) - Two British Royal Air Force Typhoon jets were scrambled on Wednesday to intercept a Latvian cargo aircraft over southern England and escort it in to land at Stansted airport, but no security threat was found, officials said.

Britain raised its terrorism alert in August to the second-highest level with Prime Minister David Cameron saying that Islamic State militants operating in Syria and Iraq posed the greatest threat to the country’s security risk.

A Stansted airport spokesman said Thursday’s incident arose after the Russian-made aircraft lost communications with air traffic controllers, and that police officers subsequently carried out checks with the crew on the ground.

“All three people who were on board have been spoken to by police, it was established that everything was in order and reason for the short loss of communication was due to a change in air space jurisdiction,” a police spokeswoman said.

The Latvian aircraft was then cleared to carry on with its journey to Birmingham in central England.

“Essex Police (are) not investigating the incident and the aircraft will be able to continue its journey to Birmingham when it is ready,” the police spokeswoman said.

The local RAF base said on Twitter the jets in Wednesday’s incident had been cleared to travel at supersonic speed.

“Apologies if we startled you during the successful intercept this afternoon - we only go supersonic over land when absolutely necessary,” the base said.

Reporting by Karolin Schaps and Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Stephen Addison and Mark Heinrich

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