Panic at Delhi air­port as pi­lot sets off hi­jack alert on Kan­da­har flight

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION -

New Delhi: A hi­jack alert sent by mis­take sent se­cu­rity teams at Delhi air­port into a tizzy on Satur­day af­ter­noon and evoked mem­o­ries of the hi­jack­ing of an In­dian Air­lines flight to Kan­da­har in 1999. The cap­tain of an Afghan air­liner, headed to Kan­da­har, sent a hi­jack alert to air traf­fic con­trol, which ac­ti­vated an emer­gency re­sponse.

The Air­bus A-310 with 124 pas­sen­gers (in­clud­ing an in­fant) and nine crew mem­bers was asked to im­me­di­ately stop from pro­ceed­ing for take-off to Kan­da­har and in­stead told to taxi to an iso­la­tion bay at the air­port. Once docked, it was sur­rounded by CISF and other se­cu­rity per­son­nel.

This is when the pi­lot told the se­cu­rity team that he had sent the mes­sage by mis­take. Not will­ing to take any chances, CISF sani­tised the air­craft and frisked all on board.

The Ari­ana Afghan Air­lines com­man­der, it emerged, was brief­ing his co-pi­lot about the pro­to­col in the event of a hi­jack. CISF and the Bureau of Civil Avi­a­tion Se­cu­rity said the cap­tain pressed the hi­jack but­ton by mis­take.

The air­plane’s cap­tain, Rokai Naimi, sub­mit­ted a writ­ten note say­ing: “To­day our staff in Delhi in­formed us that there are plan(s) of hi­jack­ing air­craft. In cockpit, I briefed my first of­fi­cer… Re­gard­ing this code we should be care­ful… But it was to(o) late, the Delhi ATC got it… It (hap­pened) while brief­ing. It is not true (sic).”

Once cleared by se­cu­rity, flight FG-312 took off from Delhi at 5.41pm, a lit­tle more than two hours be­hind sched­ule.

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