AirAsia plane returns to Kolkata as passenger triggers bomb scare
A Mumbai-bound AirAsia plane carrying 114 passengers made an emergency landing at the Kolkata airport after a woman threatened to blow up the aircraft on Saturday night, airport officials said.
No bombs were found after a search of the plane and preliminary investigation said the 25-year-old woman was in an inebriated state, they said.
The woman allegedly asked one of the cabin crew members to hand over a note to the pilots, some 40 minutes after Flight I5316 departed from the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport in Kolkata at 9:57pm. The note said there were bombs strapped to her body and she could detonate them at any moment, said a senior officer of the airport police.
The pilot then informed the air traffic controller (ATC) and an emergency was declared by the ATC at 11pm.
The flight, which had turned back for Kolkata, landed at the airport and was taken to the isolation bay at 11:46pm, the official said, adding that the protocol to handle such threats was followed.
The passenger was taken into custody by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and later handed over to the local police.
A thorough search of the plane was carried out and the aviation regulator cleared the aircraft.
“There was no bomb strapped to her body... A medical examination suggested that the woman was in an inebriated state. An investigation has been initiated and we are also talking to her family members to find out why she was going to Mumbai,” another official of the airport police said.
“She is yet to divulge why she created the bomb scare, why was she going to Mumbai and why she wanted the flight to return to Kolkata,” the official said.
The woman, identified as Mohini Mondol, was arrested under Section 505 (public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Aircraft Act. She is a resident of Salt Lake in Kolkata and works in a press owned by her father, she told the police.
An AirAsia India spokesperson on Sunday confirmed that the Kolkata-Mumbai flight made a “mid-air turn back for a precautionary landing after a passenger reported carrying explosives and warned of dire consequences”. The aircraft was secured after the landing with the assistance of airport security staff and all protocols were followed, the spokesperson said, adding that the airline is cooperating and providing all evidence in the investigation.
(With inputs from PTI)