Turkish flight aborts takeoff from Israel following threatening messages to passengers

May 11, 2022 by TPS
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A flight from Ben Gurion Airport to Turkey was grounded and delayed on Tuesday after many passengers received threatening messages on their phones.

Grounded planes at Ben Gurion airport amid the 3rd Coronavirus lockdown. Lod, Jan 1, 2021. Photo by Eitan Elhadez-Barak/TPS

The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) stated that while transporting a Turkish company’s plane from the sleeve to the take-off position, the passengers reported to the flight crew that they had received pictures of crashing planes sent to their mobile phones.

The captain of the plane decided to return the plane to the terminal and report to the security division at Ben Gurion Airport.

“Security crews are taking all necessary steps to ensure that there is no danger to passengers, including a re-inspection of the aircraft passengers and their luggage. All steps taken are in cooperation and coordination with the flight captain who has taken great responsibility in deciding to return the aircraft to the terminal,” the IAA stated.

“Immediately after we make sure that there is no risk to the plane and its passengers, the security division will allow the flight to continue on its way,” the Airports Authority said.

The photos were reportedly sent to the passengers’ phones using Apple’s AirDrop, which can transfer files among supported iOS devices by means of close-range wireless communication, and so only iPhone users received them. The photos were of a Turkish plane crash in the Netherlands in 2009 and a 2013 crash in San Francisco.

AAP reports:

The incident, on the AnadoluJet flight that had been due to take off for Istanbul on Tuesday, was not a cyber attack over the internet, said Ofer Lefler, spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority.

The nine suspects, described by police as Israeli citizens and among the passengers, were removed and could be prosecuted for disseminating false information, the authority said.

The offence carries a maximum three-year prison term in Israel.

“I am sure the police and the security authorities will find out why they (the suspects) did it,” Lefler told Channel 12 TV.

Passengers alarmed by the images informed the flight crew and the pilot made the right call in heading back to the gate, Lefler said.

“One woman fainted, another had a panic attack,” a passenger, identified only as Diana, told Channel 12.

The plane took off hours late after a security check of the plane, luggage and those onboard, Lefler said.



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