Delhi got a hijack scare on Sunday evening after an Indigo flight with suspected hijackers on board made an emergency landing at the city’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Flight operations at the airport came to a standstill after the pilot of Indigo’s Delhi-Goa flight (6E 334) informed air traffic control at 5.15 pm that there were suspected hijackers on board. This sent the country’s security establishment into a tizzy. The flight made a priority landing at 5.29 pm and was taken to an isolated bay, where a team of NSG and Central Industrial Security Force personnel surrounded the aircraft and cordoned off the area.
The 169 passengers and crew on board the Airbus A-320 aircraft were not allowed to disembark for over two hours. A meeting of the Committee of Secretaries on Anti–Hijacking (COSAH) chaired by the Cabinet Secretary was immediately called.
Passengers could finally disembark around 8 pm after it was decided in the meeting that it was safe to allow this with precautions in place.
The crisis blew over late in the evening after the airline confirmed that the flight made a priority landing owing to unruly behaviour of some passengers on board. “All the passengers on the flight are safe,” Aditya Ghosh, President, Indigo Airlines said.
According to some passengers of the flight, a group of allegedly inebriated men had been creating a ruckus as soon the flight took off from Goa at around 4 pm. “They were drunk and were falling over each other and disturbing other passengers,” said Vishambhar Botiya, a passenger.
Sources said that one of the three men, Jitendra Mola, had been passing lewd remarks at the airhostesses. After the pilot intervened, Mola allegedly threatened to hijack the plane. The pilot then informed the ATC that he needed to make a priority landing as some passengers were threatening to hijack the plane.
The three men were detained for questioning by the National Security Guards. A police complaint has been lodged by one of the cabin crew against two passengers, Hardeep Anand and Sandeep Uppal.