Caller said Bombay, airport control room heard ‘bomb hai’
A young man called Mumbai airport’s control room to enquire about job openings, referred to the city by its old name, and set off a bomb scare, resulting in the formation of a bomb threat assessment committee and heightened security.
The caller, a hotel management graduate looking for a job, found a number for the airport on Google and called to check about openings. The call ended up in the control room where the person who received the call heard the caller’s query, “Bombay Airport Hai?” (Is this Bombay airport?) as “Bomb Hai Airport Pe” (There is a bomb at the airport).
To be sure, the receiver immediately confronted the caller who clarified and even apologised for the miscommunication, but deciding to take no chances the staff at the control room alerted security personnel. The incident happened on July 19 at 4.30 pm.
“The call was received at the control room of Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) and the caller first enquired about vacancies at Mumbai airport. When he was told that the section deals with operational matters, he uttered something which the person who received the calls heard as the presence of a bomb at the airport,” said a Mumbai airport official who asked not to be named.
After two hours of checks, the call was termed as non-specific and the caller was let off with a warning.
“Taking no chance, the staff informed the security personnel and a bomb threat assessment committee was formed. After analyzing all details, it declared the call as non-specific, which means there was no threat. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) was however alerted and security (at the airport) was increased,” the official added.
The caller sounded contrite when HT spoke to him.
“I am a steward and have worked at some hotels before. But for the past four to five months I have been without a job. I have been calling every possible hirer and that day, I called Mumbai airport after someone told me about a vacancy. I had no other intention and immediate apologized for the unintentional mistake. The person (I reached over phone) threatened to lodge a complaint against me but I told him it was a miscommunication,” said the 20-year-old man from Dhule, Maharashtra.