Sydney-bound passengers in plane drama
ARMED police have boarded a Sydney-bound United Airlines flight in London and forced three passengers off the plane.
United Airlines are refusing to comment on the incident, with a spokesman for the airline in the UK confirming only that the flight from Heathrow to Sydney via San Francisco had been delayed.
But British police have confirmed armed police boarded the plane and removed three passengers.
Flight UA 931, from London to Sydney via San Francisco left Heathrow terminal as scheduled at about 2pm (GMT) on Monday afternoon (0100 AEDT Tuesday).
According to a teenage passenger, Jack Richardson from Manly in Sydney's northern beaches, the plane stopped on the runway and the pilot advised of mechanical problems over the aircraft's public address system.
"The pilot comes on and says he's not at liberty to tell us exactly what happened," he told ABC Radio.
"But the fact is a man from first class, a man from business class and a man from economy class had all been arrested and escorted off the plane."
Mr Richardson said the plane returned to the terminal, where armed police boarded it and escorted the passengers away.
He said about 100 remaining passengers were told to disembark and were subject to an extensive body and luggage search.
The flight eventually took off four hours behind schedule, Mr Richardson said.
A spokeswoman from the Metropolitan Police Service in London said the airline had sought the assistance of police to remove three passengers from the flight.
"At about 3.15pm (GMT) on Monday (0215 AEDT Tuesday), three passengers on a flight from London Heathrow to San Francisco were asked to leave the plane by police at the request of the airline company," she said.
"No offences were discovered, no arrests were made and there was no further action taken."
The basis on which the airline had sought the passengers' removal was a matter for United Airlines to decide whether to reveal, the police spokeswoman said.
A spokeswoman for United Airlines in the UK, Ruth Hornsby, confirmed the flight had been delayed but declined to provide further details.
"United Airlines' main priority is the safety and security of its passengers and staff," she told AAP from London.
The airline's Australian spokesman, Ian Nicholas, also declined to provide further details of the incident, saying it was a police matter.
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