A con air drama with a twist forced a New Delhi- bound flight from Bangkok to make an unscheduled touchdown at Calcutta airport on Wednesday afternoon. But not before an unruly passenger had gone berserk and even threatened to blow up the aircraft mid-air.
Feblex Ortiz Aeduardo Antion, a 47-year-old Mexican national, was off-loaded from IC 854, the Indian flight on the Bangkok-Delhi sector, and arrested later in the evening. He will be produced before the additional chief judicial magistrate’s court in Barrackpore on Thursday.
“Charges of violating civil aviation security, threatening the safety of passengers and aircraft will be slapped against him,” said Praveen Kumar, superintendent of police, North 24-Parganas.
Similar charges were levelled against young Mehak Ahuja for sending a terror-threat SMS to her father.
IC 854, carrying 82 passengers, took off from Swarnabhoomi airport in Bangkok at 12.30 pm, our time.
Security officials at Calcutta airport said Antion was probably under the influence of alcohol before boarding the flight and started misbehaving soon after take-off. “He kept on behaving badly despite repeated requests from the cabin crew,” said an airline official.
Things turned serious when he punched co-passenger Rakesh Tulsian in the face for protesting his boorish behaviour.
The pilot of IC 854 called the air traffic control (ATC) at around 2.40 pm, requesting priority landing as a passenger required medical assistance.
When the cabin crew tried to overpower Antion, he claimed there was a bomb under his seat and that would blow up if they tried to mess with him. “Some 10 minutes after his first call, the pilot contacted the ATC for a second time, stating that there was a bomb threat from a passenger,” said a senior Calcutta airport official.
The airport authorities declared an emergency and the aircraft touched down around 3.15 pm. It was surrounded by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel, airline security staff, a bomb disposal squad and other security agencies.
Antion was offloaded, along with his luggage. He was taken into custody following a complaint lodged by the airline. Tulsian, the injured passenger, was also treated at the airport.
“As a precautionary measure, the aircraft was taken to the isolation bay and all passengers were off-loaded,” an airport official said. Following an all-clear, the flight finally took off for Delhi at 6.05 pm.