Monday, 30th October 2017

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Plane returns after mid-air bomb scare

A thorough search of the aircraft was conducted but nothing was found, airport officials said

By TT Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 13.01.20, 2:29 AM
  • Updated 13.01.20, 2:29 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
The AirAsia flight took off from Calcutta at 10.09pm on Saturday Representative picture from Shutterstock

A Calcutta-Mumbai AirAsia flight carrying 114 passengers returned to the city less than an hour after take-off on Saturday night after a passenger allegedly handed over a note to the cabin crew that said she had a bomb tied to her body.

A thorough search of the aircraft was conducted but nothing was found, airport officials said.

The passenger, a 25-year-old woman from Salt Lake, was arrested.

A breathalyser test at the airport showed that her blood alcohol level was well above the permissible limit, an officer of the Bidhannagar commissionerate said.

The woman’s family has said she suffers from psychiatric problems and is on regular medication, the officer said.

The AirAsia flight took off from Calcutta at 10.09pm on Saturday with 114 passengers, four cabin crew members and two pilots on board, airport officials said.

Around 40 minutes later, the woman on seat 1F handed over the note to a cabin crew member and asked it to be delivered to the captain of the flight, an officer of the Bidhannagar commissionerate said quoting the complaint.

The note allegedly said the woman wanted help because she could not “dispose” of the bomb tied to her body.

The pilot immediately alerted the air traffic control (ATC) in Calcutta that he would fly back as there was a bomb threat, an airport official said. A full emergency was sounded by the ATC at 11pm. The plane landed at 11.33pm and was taken to the isolation bay within three minutes.

The bomb detection and disposal squad gave an all-clear for the passenger baggage at 1.30am. The passengers flew to Mumbai on another flight at 3.30am, airline sources said. Two passengers seated next to the woman did not report for boarding, said sources.

The directorate general of civil aviation declared the aircraft clean, airport officials said. “An AirAsia flight from Calcutta to Mumbai made a mid-air turnback for a precautionary landing after a passenger reported carrying explosives,” an airline official said.

The woman has been charged under section 505 (intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public) of the IPC and section 3 (communicates such information which he knows to be false so as to endanger the safety of an aircraft in flight) of the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act, 1982. She was produced in court on Sunday and remanded in judicial custody.