One of Spain’s busiest airports, Palma de Mallorca, was forced to close for nearly four hours after several passengers ran off when their plane made an emergency landing, according to airport authorities.
The aircraft, which was on a flight between Morocco and Turkey, was diverted to the Mediterranean island of Mallorca on Friday due to an alleged medical emergency, the Civil Guard police force told AFP.
During the evacuation of the supposedly ill traveller, about 20 passengers took the opportunity to flee while the plane was on the tarmac. Two people were arrested, the police said.
Investigators were working on the hypothesis that the medical incident was staged in order to enter Spain illegally, the El Pais newspaper reported.
The passenger who complained of discomfort was taken to hospital, where he was declared to be in perfect health and arrested for “assisting in illegal immigration", according to the daily.
A passenger who accompanied him to the hospital had also disappeared, said the paper, which reported five people were arrested in addition to the faker.
According to aircraft tracker FlightRadar24, the diverted plane was an Air Arabia Maroc Airbus A320 on a flight between Casablanca and Istanbul.
Due to the security incident, 13 planes bound for Palma were rerouted to other airports, and 16 departing flights suffered significant delays, according to airport authorities.
The airport reopened around midnight Friday after being closed for about four hours.