More than 100 passengers on board a GoAir flight from Mumbai to Delhi on Saturday spent a panic-struck 90 minutes in the aircraft after the flight was delayed owing to a security scare.
According to passengers, the cockpit crew took the aircraft to an isolated bay at 8.30pm after the airline recieved an annonymous call of security threat. But for the next 90 minutes, passengers were not deplaned.
"There was massive ruckus on board the flight as scared passengers began screaming but the crew refused to open the aircraft doors," said Mohammed Shahbar, a passenger.
At 10.15pm, airport security jawans arrived and began the emergency evacuation process.
"The aircraft should have been vacated immediately. It's a serious lapse in security protocol," said an airport official.
A Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson confirmed the incident.
"The standard operating procedure for such emergencies is being followed," said the spokesperson. The GoAir spokesperson did not respond to HT's query over the delay in offloading passenger.
SP Sealvan, head of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), said he could not comment on the delay as he was out of town.
According to safety protocol, offloading passengers and frisking their hand baggage is the immediate action in such emergencies.
At 10:50pm the evacuation was completed and sniffer dogs entered the aircraft. Till the time of going to press, the flight was rescheduled at 1am on Sunday.