Bomb scare grounds Jet Airways flight

Bomb scare grounds Jet Airways flight

Aircraft cleared for take-off after 6 hrs

A Jet Airways’ Delhi-Kathmandu flight was stopped minutes before taking off from Indira Gandhi International Airport on Monday after a bomb scare, following a threat by an anonymous caller, sent the authorities into a tizzy. The aircraft – 9W 260 – was searched thoroughly and cleared for take off after almost six hours.

“No suspicious item was found during search operations,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI Airport) Dinesh Kumar Gupta.

The bomb scare arose at a time when a security alert has been issued by Delhi Police and other security agencies in view of the Republic Day celebrations on Tuesday.

According to police, the threat call came about half an hour before the plane, carrying 104 passengers and seven crew members, was to take off for Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport. The scheduled departure time was of 1.25 pm.

“A call was received at the office of DCP (IGI Airport) at 12.55 pm in which the caller said that a Republic Day gift for him was kept under seat number 18,” another police officer said.

No phone number was displayed.
The flight was immediately taken to the isolation bay of the airport and all passengers de-boarded for a thorough anti-sabotage check. They were taken to the departures waiting area.

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Delhi Police and Central Industrial Security Force launched massive search operations in the airport and everybody present in the airport was  frisked.

Sniffer dogs were also brought in and at the end of the operation, which lasted a few hours, the call was declared to be a hoax.

“It led to anxious moments with police, bomb disposal and dog squads rushing to the spot, only to discover that the call was a hoax,” the officer added.

In a statement, Jet Airways apologised for the inconvenience caused to guests.
“After a thorough search by the security agencies, the aircraft was cleared for departure. It departed for Kathmandu at 7.10 pm,” the airline said.

As far as the caller is concerned, efforts are on to trace him. The caller will be booked under sections 182 (false information) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code, and under section 66A of the Information Technology Act.

Security has been beefed up across the capital ahead of the Republic Day celebrations which will be attended by French President Francois Hollande.