Confusion as hijack alert activated on SAA plane

2013-07-16 06:11

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Johannesburg - A hijack alarm signal from an SAA plane caused quite a stir at OR Tambo International Airport on Monday afternoon, with police boarding to verify the pilot's identity.

Lee Kotzé, a passenger on flight SA346 from Cape Town, told Beeld the plane had landed at 16:50 (ten minutes early),  but did not proceed to its parking bay.

The pilot announced after a wait of about 20 minutes that another plane had taken their parking. The passengers waited another 20 minutes before getting more information.

"Then the pilot made a very weird announcement. He said: 'The airport authorities and the police say that the plane has been hijacked and that I'm not who I say I am'," Kotzé told the newspaper.

After a few minutes, the pilot said the police would come on board to verify his identity. The doors were opened 15 minutes after this announcement.

Police were standing at the entrance, and more armed policemen were standing outside the aircraft, along with a handful of police vehicles and a fire truck, Kotzé added.

"There was no hijacking," said Tlali Tlali, spokesperson for SAA.

According to him, the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) received a hijack alarm signal from the plane, and informed the police of a possible hijack situation.

"If there is a hijack alarm signal, it becomes the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Acsa," Percy Morokane, spokesperson for ATNS, said.

Phindiwe Gwebu, spokesperson for the CAA, told Beeld they were aware of the situation, and were awaiting a report from SAA before they could investigate the situation further.

The police could not be reached for information.

Read more on:    acsa  |  saa  |  johannesburg  |  air travel
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