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Tweet about bomb onboard forces emergency landing of Jet Airways plane in Muscat

New Delhi: A Dubai-bound Jet Airways flight from Mumbai with 61 passengers and crew made an emergency landing at Muscat airport following a tweet about presence of a bomb onboard, but was cleared for onward travel after it turned out to be hoax, second such incident in last two days.

Flight No 9W 536 landed under emergency conditions in the Omani capital safely at 2.50 pm IST and was taken to the isolation bay for passengers and crew to disembark. Omani security agencies scanned the aircraft, passengers and baggage and, after a thorough search, the plane was cleared for take-off, a Jet Airways official said.

He said the flight will take off for onward journey anytime now. The tweet–“Bomb spotted on Jet Airways 9W 536 from Mumbai to Dubai departure at 1225 from CSIA (Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport)– triggered the scare after it was noticed by a Jet Airways staff, who informed Mumbai ATC about it.

The message was relayed to Muscat ATC at 1.55 pm following which the plane was diverted to the airport in the Omani capital. The tweet was said to have originated from the twitter handle of one Surendra Pratap. Indian security agencies, including Mumbai police’s cyber cell, have launched a probe.

Reuters image.Reuters image.

Reuters image.

This was the second time in last two days that a plane had to be diverted to another airport due to an alleged bomb threat. On Tuesday, a Turkish Airlines plane had to make an
emergency landing at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport following a similar scare but no explosive was found onboard.

“Jet Airways flight 9W 536, which departed from Mumbai at 1246 hrs for Dubai, was diverted to Muscat due to a bomb threat. The aircraft with 54 guests and 7 crew on board landed safely in Muscat at 1320 hrs local time (1450 hrs India),” Jet Airways said in a statement earlier in the day.

All guests and crew disembarked without any incident and were taken to the airport terminal, the airline said.

Jet Airways, in another statement, said that the flight departed for Dubai at 2115 hours Indian time after Muscat Airport Authorities cleared the plane for take-off. “After a thorough search by the Omani security agencies, the aircraft was cleared for onward journey. The flight departed Muscat at 1945 hours local time (2115 hours India) for Dubai,” Jet Airways said in the statement.

“We regret the inconvenience caused to the guests and thank them for their patience, calmness and understanding,” it added.

Meanwhile, Punjab Police said they are yet to trace Surinder Pratap, who is believed to have tweeted from Ludhiana that a bomb was “spotted” in the Jet Airways flight. “All efforts are being made to trace the antecedents of this Surinder Pratap, but no progress has been made yet.

Efforts are on to nab the culprit,” Ludhiana Police Commissioner Pramod Ban said. Police, however, did not rule out the possibility of the tweet being fake.


No bomb found on Turkish Airlines flight, plane cleared for take-off

New Delhi: An Istanbul-bound Turkish Airlines flight from Bangkok with 157 passengers and crew on board landed at the IGI Airport in New Delhi on Tuesday under emergency conditions following a bomb scare but was cleared for take-off after the security agencies did not find any explosive.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Flight TKO65 sought an emergency landing after its pilot was informed about a message scribbled on the mirror of a washroom with a lipstick warning about the presence of a bomb in the cargo hold.

“Nothing was found…the aircraft has been cleared for take off,” Civil Aviation Secretary RN Choubey told reporters.

Sources said the lipstick used for writing the threat message was found during the search.

Delhi Police will register and FIR in connection with the incident, sources said, adding, “the plane is likely to take off around 9:30 pm.”

“When the aircraft was in Indian air space near Nagpur, the crew noticed a note saying bomb in CGR (cargo). The crew informed the pilot who got in touch with the Nagpur Air Traffic Controller who advised that the aircraft land in Delhi,” Choubey said.

The aircraft touched down in Delhi at 1:34 pm and was taken to an isolated area of the airport after which all 144 passengers and 13 crew were off-loaded as was their luggage, which were subjected to security checks, Choubey said.

Turkish Airlines, in a statement, however, said there were 134 passengers on board the Airbus 330 plane.

The aircraft was checked for explosives by CISF and Bomb Disposal Squads. Commandos of the elite National Security Guard with their dog squads were kept on stand by.

As the security personnel scanned the aircraft for bomb, CISF Director General Surender Singh briefed Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the situation.

The Bomb Threat Assessment Committee, a multi-agency body, said since the threat was “specific”, the normal drill prescribed for such situations was followed.