Jet forced to land after disturbance on board

A passenger jet was forced to land at Cardiff International Airport today after crew reported a disturbance on board, police said.

A South Wales Police spokesman said officers had been sent to the airport following reports of public disorder. The plane was carrying a number of Celtic football fans on their way back home to Glasgow.

At one point, the RAF was alerted about the disturbance.

A spokesman for the RAF confirmed that two helicopters from the base at Kinloss in Scotland were scrambled shortly after 3pm.

He said: "Our aircraft were scrambled in response to a mayday call from a 737 aircraft. It was diverted to Cardiff and landed safely."

He added that the two helicopters were later

stood down.

The airline involved was the British holiday carrier Astraeus. The flight was bound for Glasgow from Santiago in northern Spain.

A South Wales Police spokesman said: "We received a report that there was public disorder aboard a plane. "

The crew is understood to have reported the disturbance at 3pm and had elected to divert to Cardiff.

In a statement later, a spokesman for Astraeus said: "In these circumstances, the captain's foremost priority is the safety and security of both passengers and crew and he judged that diverting to Cardiff was the best course of action.

Astraeus commercial director Jonathan Hinkles told Sky News he understood that a flight attendant had been punched on the arm during the incident while trying to calm passengers who had become unruly.

He added that police were interviewing passengers and crew.

"The incident arose literally within one hour of take off from Santiago in northern Spain," he said.

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