New Delhi: A Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways flight made an emergency landing at the Ahmedabad airport today after a note stating that there were hijackers and a bomb on board was found in the washroom, officials said.
Flight 9W 339, which had taken off from Mumbai at 2.55 am with 115 passengers and seven crew members, landed without incident at Ahmedabad around 3.45 am. The Boeing 737-900 plane was parked at a remote bay and all 122 safely deplaned, a Jet Airways spokesperson said.
Describing it as a bomb threat, an official of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) told PTI that nothing was found following a check of all the passengers and their bags.
The printed note, in Urdu and English, said the flight had hijackers on board and a bomb in the cargo area and should be flown straight to POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir). It was found in the washroom, the BCAS official said.
The message was passed on to the pilot, who is believed to have pressed the hijack alert button, following which the plane made an emergency landing, he said. According to Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, the person responsible for the security threat had been identified and should be immediately put on the no-fly list. He did not identify the person.
"I am informed that the person responsible for Jet flight 339 (Mumbai-Delhi) incident causing the landing at Ahmedabad today morning has been identified," Raju said in a Tweet. He said he was advising airlines to put him on the no-fly list immediately, in addition to other statutory criminal action.
The flight was "diverted to Ahmedabad following declaration of an emergency as per established security procedures, due to the detection of an onboard security threat", the Jet Airways spokesperson said.
Giving details of what had happened, Ahmedabad Airport Director Manoj Gangal added that the flight was allowed to make an emergency landing on the pilot's request.
"The pilot requested the ATC to make an emergency landing as he suspected that some hijackers as well as explosives were on board. The flight later departed to its destination after a thorough investigation by the police," Gangal said.
The bomb disposal squad and the local police conducted a thorough search but found no explosive substance, said Sardarnagar police station inspector H B Zala. PTI correspondent Rajkumar Leishemba, who was on board, said all the passengers were deplaned and screened. They were
profiled, their photographs taken and personal details sought, including their last overseas visit.
After more than six hours at the airport, the flight carrying the passengers took off for Delhi around 10.30 am, he said.
The note, with a para in Urdu on the top and English at the bottom, was shared by a senior official. It ended with "Allah is Great" and said, "Flight No 9W339 is covered by Hijackers and aircraft should not be land and flown straight to POK. 12 people on board. if you put landing gear you will hear the noise of people dying. dont take it as a joke. Cargo area contains explosive bomb and will blast if you land Delhi (sic)."