Russia diverted a United Airlines airplane away from its airspace for “diplomatic reasons” on Wednesday morning. The flight was supposed to travel over Russia during its route from San Francisco to Shanghai, China, but the diversion forced it to stop and refuel in Japan.
Several passengers recounted the incident on social media, with one named Andy Brown claiming that the airplane was almost out of fuel before landing at Tokyo’s Narita airport.
“Then they backed into something at Tokyo airport broke something on the plane!” Brown wrote in a Facebook post. “United probably will not tell the public about this.”
As reported in the Daily Caller:
It is not entirely clear what diplomatic concerns may have forced the diversion. The most obvious explanation would be the tense relationship between the U.S. and Russia over Syria’s use of chemical weapons during an attack on April 4.
The White House said on Tuesday that the Russian government has engaged in a cover-up to shift blame from the Syrian regime for the attacks, which involved the use of sarin gas and killed 100 people. Syria and Russia are allies.
A Federal Aviation Administration said that these types of diversions are routine and often the result of paperwork issues.