Fighter jets of the Indian Air Force (IAF) were scrambled on Monday after a bomb scare was reported on board an Iranian airline transiting through Indian air space, bound for China. The issue was resolved after a message from Tehran to “disregard the bomb scare”, following which the aircraft continued on its journey, the IAF said in a statement.
The statement said that an intimation was received of a bomb scare on an airline bearing Iranian registration, when it was transiting through Indian airspace. “IAF fighter aircraft were scrambled, which followed the aircraft at a safe distance,” the statement said.
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The aircraft was offered the option to land at Jaipur and then at Chandigarh, but the pilot declared his unwillingness to divert the flight to either of the two airports, the IAF said. “After a while, intimation was received from Tehran to disregard the bomb scare, following which, the aircraft continued on its journey towards its final destination,” the IAF said.
Jaideep Prasad, Joint Director General of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, told The Hindu that around 8.50 a.m. on Monday information was received at Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower in Delhi, from ATC Tehran via ATC Lahore that there was a bomb threat for the Iranian plane flying from Tehran to Guangzhou.
“The information was shared with the pilot, who was preparing to land in Delhi. But soon Tehran informed via ATC Lahore that the bomb call was a hoax. The situation was cleared in 15 minutes,” he said.
The official added that it is up to the pilot to decide where he wants to land based on a safety assessment and fuel in the aircraft.
The IAF said that all actions were taken as per the laid down procedure, jointly with Ministry of Civil Aviation and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. The aircraft was under close radar surveillance by the IAF throughout its flight through Indian airspace, the statement added.