The Air India pilot who, on October 19, had sounded a hijack alert at the airport here after some agitated passengers allegedly tried to force their way into the cockpit, in her police complaint claimed that she was threatened by them.
According to the FIR lodged with city police, Commander Rupali Wagmore complained that a passenger even told her he would not hesitate to kill her if anything happened to his six-month-old child.
Around 200 passengers of the Kochi-bound flight from Abu Dhabi had protested and some allegedly tried to enter the cockpit after it was diverted here due to poor visibility. They alleged the aircraft took several hours to even take off from Abu Dhabi. Women and children were reportedly not provided water or refreshments and the protests started only after there was no word from the crew on when the flight would leave for Kochi, the passengers said.
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s comments on the incident have triggered a row.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said the Chief Minister should have waited for the outcome of enquiries before finding fault with the airline. “He should have waited,” Mr. Singh said in New Delhi. The Kerala police, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and the DGCA will study what prompted Captain Rupali to trigger the hijack alert.
Mr. Chandy had said on Sunday that the state-owned airline’s actions amounted to “sheer cruelty” and that “the hapless passengers were even dubbed as hijackers... this is deplorable and we express strong protest over it.”
The Kerala Police has set up a special team under Assistant Commissioner K.S. Vimal to ascertain the circumstances that led to the incident and find out if the pilot’s charges against the passengers were true.
Based on Ms. Wagmore’s complaint, police had registered a case against six ‘identifiable’ passengers and begun investigation by questioning airport staff .