Ariana Afghan Airlines flight FG312 at New Delhi airport
NEW DELHI: A hijack scare on a Kandahar-bound flight from New Delhi sent security officials at the Delhi international airport into tizzy on November 10 after the pilot "mistakenly" pressed the 'hijack button' when it was taxiing for take-off.
The Ariana Afghan Airlines plane, with nine crew members, 125 passengers, took off nearly two hours later after "satisfactory" security checks.
According to senior officials in the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, the FG312 flight, while taxiing for take-off, returned to the "isolation bay" presumably due to the pressing of the 'hijack button' by the crew.
The officials said the incident brought back the chilling memories of the 1999 Kandahar hijacking of an Air India plane.
The pressing of 'hijack button' had pushed all agencies concerned, including the anti-terror force National Security Guard (NSG), into action. NSG commandos and officials of other agencies swiftly responded to the situation and surrounded the aircraft.
After a two-hour operation that created panic among the passengers on board the aircraft, the plane was cleared for take-off.
Before the flight was allowed to fly out, secondary security checks were carried out and customs clearance of all passengers was taken.
Rokai Naimi, captain of the flight, submitted a hand-written note to Indian authorities. "Today our staff in Delhi informed us that there are plan of hijacking aircraft. In cockpit, I briefed my F/O (first officer) that if hijacking (happens) we just put code... Regarding this code we should be careful... But it was too late, the Delhi ATC (Air Traffic Control) got it," reads the letter, a copy of which was shared by the security officials.