Plane lands safely following crash threat in Mississippi

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A plane that had been circling over northern Mississippi after its pilot had threatened to crash it into the ground has landed safely, US officials said.

State governor Tate Reeves announced on Twitter that the “situation has been resolved and that no-one was injured”.

He thanked law enforcement agencies that helped in bringing the aircraft down.

The plane started circling over Tupelo, Mississippi, about 5am local time (11am BST) and was in the air for more than four hours.

Authorities later said the pilot had been taken into custody.

Earlier, the Tupelo Police Department said the plane had flown away from Tupelo and was circling over another community nearby.

Authorities believe the aircraft – a Beechcraft King Air C90A – was stolen and are working to determine whether the pilot who threatened to crash the plane is an employee of a local airport.

Multiple federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, were involved in the investigation.

The plane circles in the air
The plane circles over Tupelo (Rachel McWilliams via AP)

Law enforcement told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that the plane had left the airspace around Tupelo and was flying near a Toyota manufacturing plant in nearby Blue Springs.

An online flight tracking service showed the plane meandering in the sky for several hours and following a looping path.

Leslie Criss, a magazine editor who lives in Tupelo, woke up early and was watching the situation on TV and social media. Several of her friends were outside watching the plane circle overhead.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in this town,” Ms Criss told The Associated Press. “It’s a scary way to wake up on a Saturday morning.”

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