An Istanbul bound Turkish Airlines plane carrying 144 passengers and 13 crew members made an emergency landing at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) on Tuesday afternoon following a bomb threat reported by its pilot. The flight which had taken off from Bangkok was in Indian airspace when the pilot was apprised of a bomb scare by the flight crew. Immediately, an SOS was sent to the nearest ATC in Nagpur, after which the plane was diverted to Delhi.
The plane, an Airbus A330, landed safely at 1.41pm and was immediately taken to an isolation bay at the IGIA. It was then fully checked for explosives and any other suspicious object by the CISF personnel and Bomb Disposal Squads.
After a thorough check it was declared that no explosives were found inside the aircraft. The authorities have also claimed that the plane will take-off for its destination very soon.
“Nothing suspicious found in plane, Turkish Airlines aircraft cleared for take-off,” Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey said at a press conference in Delhi.
According to officers probing the incident, “the pilot was informed of a message written with lipstick on the mirror of one of the plane’s washrooms that there was a bomb in the cargo hold of the aircraft, leading the pilot to seek Nagpur ATC’s permission to land the aircraft there. He directed the pilot to approach the Delhi ATC”.
Following the standard operating procedures, NSG and bomb disposal squad were pressed into service. The Home Ministry officials too were briefed about the incident by the Director General, CISF.
“No explosive was found inside the cabin. The cargo portion is being checked,” MoS Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma told the press.
Just after the emergency landing, the entire area was cordoned off with the fire brigade alerted before the plane was taken to the isolation bay for the passengers and crew to be disembarked safely.
The Turkish Airlines too released a press statement, saying that its flight was diverted following a possible bomb threat.
“Turkish Airlines Bangkok – Istanbul flight (TK065, A 330 Aircraft, carrying 134 passengers) has diverted to Delhi after a possible bomb threat. The plane has already landed in Delhi and all of our passengers and cabin crew have been safely evacuated and taken to the terminal building,” the airline said in a statement.
(With inputs from the agencies)