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False hijack alarm: DGCA seeks report from airport

Oct 19, 2012 08:27 PM IST India India

Thiruvananthapuram: Angry passengers aboard a Abu Dhabi-Kochi Air India Express flight on Friday triggered high drama at Thiruvananthapuram airport, Kerala. The woman pilot called in a hijack alert after a few passengers allegedly tried to barge into the cockpit. The passengers were upset that the flight had been redirected to Thiruvananthapuram due to bad weather.

What followed was almost right out of a movie, with security forces swooping in to surround the aircraft, and some passengers resisting attempts by security men to board the plane. Sources say that in a complaint letter, the woman pilot alleged she was threatened by some passengers, but police sources say prima facie, it was mishandling by Air India which worsened the situation.

After eight hours and with the state DGP himself coming in to calm frayed nerves, the flight was finally despatched to Kochi. However, CISF personnel there detained a few passengers named by the pilot for questioning, prompting the others to protest.

"Nobody got into the cockpit. We stood outside and were knocking on the door to get more information," said one passenger. Another hassled woman passenger asked, "The flight was flooded with policemen. Are we terrorists?"

The detained passengers were later let off. The state DGP has now been asked to submit a report to the Kerala government, while the DGCA has sought a report from the Thiruvananthapuram Airport Authority.