Western countries have expressed outrage at the forced diversion of a plane carrying a…

May 24, 2021
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In a statement, Ryanair said the crew had been “notified by Belarus (Air Traffic Control) of a potential security threat on board and were instructed to divert to the nearest airport, Minsk”.

The flight path, visible on the Flightradar24 website, suggests the plane was actually nearer to Vilnius than Minsk when it turned.

Ryanair said checks in Minsk found “nothing untoward”, but made no mention of Mr Protasevich. The plane finally landed in Vilnius at about 21:30 local time (18:30 GMT).

Some passengers described seeing Mr Protasevich looking nervous as the incident unfolded. “He just turned to people and said he was facing the death penalty,” Monika Simkiene told AFP news agency.

Another passenger told Reuters news agency that Mr Protasevich had opened an overhead locker after they were told of the diversion, pulled out a laptop and a phone and gave them to a female companion. She was not allowed to re-embark the flight, the Lithuanian president said.

•Text (excluding headline) courtesy of BBC.

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