Today's Paper

Plane makes emergency landing amid high drama

Devesh K. Pandey

NEW DELHI: A couple of unruly passengers on board a flight from Goa set off a hijack alert at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here on Sunday, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing.

Confusion prevailed for almost two hours at the airport with no official explanation forthcoming as to why Indigo flight E-664 was taken to an isolated bay and no passenger was allowed to disembark. Soon after, the flight touched down around 5.30 p.m., National Security Guards and Central Industrial Security Force personnel surrounded it.

Relatives of the passengers spent anxious moments even as rumours were rife that the entire exercise was part of a security drill.

When contacted over the mobile phone, a passenger told his relative that something was amiss on board the plane as a couple of co-passengers had misbehaved with the flight crew. This forced the pilot to seek priority landing.

At a press conference later, Civil Aviation Secretary M. Madhavan Nambiar said a couple of passengers behaved aggressively and threatened to hijack the plane.

“Following receipt of information through the Air Traffic Control from the pilot, all precautionary steps were taken as per the prescribed drill. The plane made an emergency landing at 5.29 p.m. and taken to an isolated area and the CISF and the NSG immediately cordoned off the area,” said Mr. Nambiar.

The Committee of Secretaries on Anti-Hijacking, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, met immediately thereafter and, after reviewing all aspects of the situation and satisfying itself that it was safe to allow the passengers to disembark, a decision was taken to do so with all precautions, he said.

Three passengers, including a woman, were detained. They are being interrogated by a team of police and intelligence officials. No weapons were found on them.

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