Another European Airline Scare
Posted on Aug 24, 2006
Dutch authorities detained 12 passengers on a flight headed to Mumbai, India, after the plane was turned around under fighter escort. The passengers were reported to have behaved suspiciously?using and exchanging cellphones midflight. Later, authorities said the incident probably had nothing to do with terrorism and that the 12 passengers would be released today.
New York Times:
Dutch authorities said today that an incident aboard a Northwest Airlines jet on Wednesday that led to a panicked early landing and the detention of 12 passengers probably had nothing to do with terrorism. Prosecutors said the 12 passengers, who were held overnight by police, would be released today, news agencies reported.
The pilot of Northwest Flight 42, which was traveling from Amsterdam to Mumbai, turned back about 20 minutes into the flight on Wednesday after several passengers were observed passing cell phones back and forth and unfastening their seat belts.
Two F-16 fighter jets from the Royal Netherlands Air Force escorted the airliner back to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam as United States air marshals who were onboard intervened.
?Up until now, it does not appear to be terror related,? the Dutch news agency ANP quoted Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner as saying.