More than 160 people were stranded at Mumbai’s domestic airport for nearly three hours on Saturday after a bomb hoax by a passenger delayed a Delhi-bound GoAir flight.
It was 9.40 am and the aircraft, parked in Bay 6, was awaiting take-off clearance when Mohammed Tahu, 22, screamed “Bomb in plane”. He refused to elaborate on the alert. His persistent yelling eventually forced the airline crew to abort takeoff and deplane the passengers, as per emergency protocol.
A subsequent police interrogation has revealed that Tahu, a business administration student, has been undergoing psychiatric treatment and his act was driven by a sense of paranoia.
“We did not register a case against him because he is mentally unstable. We have let him go,” said Satya Narayan Choudhary, deputy commissioner of police (Zone 8). Airport sources said Tahu’s father Husain submitted a medical certificate to the police, confirming his son’s ongoing treatment.
The airport’s bomb detection squad nonetheless carried out a thorough check of the aircraft. At 12.29 pm, security personnel finally cleared the aircraft for operation and the flight took off.
The airport is currently on high alert following intelligence inputs about possible terror strikes around Republic Day, less than two weeks away.