Kochi 'hijack' alarm: All passengers of AI flight released
Action is likely to be taken against the pilot, who pressed the hijack button in panic after passengers allegedly stormed the cockpit.
Thiruvananthapuram: All the six passengers of the Abu Dhabi-Kochi Air India flight, who were detained at the Kochi airport over a false hijack ruckus on Friday, have been released. High drama unfolded at the international airport in Thiruvananthapuram when the pilot of the Air India flight pressed the hijack button in panic after irate passengers allegedly stormed the cockpit. The passengers allegedly refused to deboard at Thiruvananthapuram, where the flight was diverted following a technical snag. Air India officials alleged that the passengers refused to de-board and also threatened the pilot.
The passengers, however, said that they did not enter the cockpit, but stood outside it and asked the pilot as to when the flight would take off. The passengers alleged that they were not being treated properly by the Air India officials and that there was no access to food and water was provided. "Nobody went into the cockpit. We did block the aisle. The passengers did not speak directly to the pilot. Around 125 passengers are still on the plane. The Kerala police boarded the plane and escorted the pilot out," said one of the passengers, Henry. The passengers also said that the airline 'hijacked' them.
The passengers also alleged that there has been no proper channel of communication between the authorities and them. They said that for a long time they were not told what the next step will be. However, a few hours later, a new cabin crew was sent to the flight. Thiruvananthapuram Airport sources said that action is likely to be taken against the pilot. The flight took off for Kochi from Thiruvananthapuram after eight hours.
CNN-IBN has accessed the contents of the complaint letter written by the woman pilot. The letter has been submitted to DGP Kerala, who chaired the emergency aerodrome meeting. Here are important points from the letter:
- Four to six passengers entered the cockpit, threatened the pilot and obstructed her movements.
- She then pressed the emergency button and told the ATC that there is a hijack kind of situation inside the craft.
- The pilots claims that the passengers were informed about the delay and that a new set of crew members will arrive and they need to leave as the flying hours are over.
The DGP Kerala has been asked to file a report on the incident to the Kerala government and the Thiruvananthapuram Airport Authority will submit a report to the DGCA.
(With additional information from PTI)