When a passenger, allegedly drunk, on board the Indigo flight 6E 334 from Goa to Delhi told the airhostess that he could hijack the plane, he perhaps didn't realize that he would be sending panic waves in the airport and throw the security apparatus into a tizzy.
"While yelling at the airhostess and the pilot, he warned that he could hijack the plane if he wished. That's when the pilot went for an emergency landing," said an official, who did not wish to be named. Passengers said as much.
"They were drunk. They were falling over each other, laughing loudly and disturbing the passengers. The pilot arrived sometime later and asked them shift to the last row," said Vishambhar Botiya, chartered accountant from Agra, and one of the Economy Class passengers.
"He wanted to take an entire row of three seats to sleep. The airhostess refused. Everybody was confused," said Ramnik Singh from Delhi.
Sources said one of the three men, Jitendra Mola, had been passing lewd remarks at the airhostesses. When an airhostess asked them to behave, Mola started yelling. "The pilot intervened when Mola threatened to slap her. At this point the pilot contacted the ATC and asked for a priority landing," said an official who did not wanted to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The plane landed under full emergency conditions and as the anti-hijack apparatus of the airport came into action, the National Security Guards detained the three alleged people for questioning.
But the plight of the passengers did not end there.
After the landing at 5.29 PM, the passengers had to remain in the aircraft for nearly three hours, said a business class passenger Shrishti Sahni.
Even after de-boarding, the passengers' nightmare continued when they were informed that they would not get their luggage immediately. "They said they would give our luggage on Monday," said a passenger, Aruna Hariprasad.
Chaos at the airport
The airport witnessed chaos for more than an hour. Around 50 flights that were to depart or arrive at that time were put on hold. There was a pile-up in the skies too, as planes hovered for 45-odd minutes before the security forces declared the airport safe.For about an hour, the airport was shut down and all the doors were closed. Passengers of other flights too were made to wait for a long time.