Panic In Delhi-Kandahar Flight After Pilot Presses Hijack Button By Mistake
A pilot of a Kandahar-bound flight triggered a hijack scare at Delhi airport when he mistakenly pressed the hijack button on the aircraft, which made the airport security immediately divert the aircraft to the isolation bay. Officials said that following “satisfactory” security checks, the Ariana Afghan Airlines flight took off with nine crew members and 124 passengers, including an infant. It took off two hours after its scheduled departure time.
Hijack button pressed by mistake
At the isolation bay, agencies like the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) checked the aircraft, sanitized it and frisked the passengers despite the pilot claiming that he had sent the message by mistake. CISF and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security also said the same.
As reported by The Times of India, the airlines’ commander was telling his co-pilot what is to be done in case there is a hijack, because he had been alerted about one. A simple practice exercise inside the cockpit turned into a hijack scare when the FG-312 captain sent a message to Delhi air traffic control (ATC).
“The aircraft was cleared for departure on confirmation that it was an error by the Captain,” said the official source. The source also said that an application was written by the pilot, which stated that the button was pressed by mistake, reported The Economic Times.
A written note by the flight’s captain, Rokai Naimi, read: “Today our staff in Delhi informed us that there is a plan of hijacking aircraft. In the cockpit, I briefed my F/O (first officer) that if hijacking (happens) we just put code… Regarding this code, we should be careful… But it was too late, the Delhi ATC (Air Traffic Control) got it.” Security officials shared a copy of this note, reported NDTV.
1999 Kandahar hijack
This incident brought back memories of the horrifying hijack of Indian Airlines Flight 814 (IC 814) in 1999, which forced India on its knees. The hijack was carried out by terrorists of a Pakistan-based extremist group called Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, whose demand led to the release of three militants. These were the militants who later executed the 9/11 attacks, the 2006 Mumbai terror attacks, and kidnapped and murdered journalist Daniel Pearl.