LONDON — A British airliner approaching Baghdad, Iraq, had to take emergency action when anti-aircraft shells exploded near it, according to London's Sunday Express.
State-run British Airways said the account was exaggerated, but a Foreign Office spokesman told reporters, "We have asked our embassy in Baghdad to look into this matter urgently."
The Sunday Express said a British Airways TriStar jet, carrying about 150 passengers from London to Baghdad on Thursday, was at a height of 3,000 feet when the pilot, Capt. David Stevenson, saw shells exploding about a mile in front of his plane.
Independent Radio News said Stevenson put the three-engine jet into a banking turn and landed without damage.
The Sunday Express said it has not been determined who fired the two short bursts of shellfire.
"One theory being explored is that the anti-aircraft guns were fired by high-spirited troops celebrating a wedding in a village near Baghdad," the weekly said.