Passengers alight plane at Wonderboom with hands on heads

2016-07-11 15:48
The Airlink plane on the runway at Wonderboom Airport. (Supplied)

The Airlink plane on the runway at Wonderboom Airport. (Supplied)

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WATCH: False 'hijacked plane' message has SA in a frenzy

2016-07-11 15:03

On Monday a SA Airlink plane travelling from Cape Town to Wonderboom in Gauteng emitted an 'anomalous' hijack alert through its transponder. Despite this, social media was awash with theories as police and security forces descended on the airport. Watch. WATCH

Pretoria - Passengers with their hands on their heads have started stepping off an Airlink plane at Wonderboom Airport that had earlier been reported as hijacked after it apparently sent out an "anomalous" alert on Monday.

One of the passengers on board - Montana educator Miranda Ramashala - said that minors were being escorted off first.

Daniel Shelley, a videographer on scene, told News24 that officials stood with guns around the plane.

He believed the pilot was off the plane. He saw buses moving in to transport the passengers, as well as an ambulance driving to the plane.

Ramashala, a Soshanguve resident, earlier said they were told police would escort them off one-by-one and that they had to leave their belongings behind.

She was returning from a weekend getaway in Cape Town. She said most passengers were calm but tired. Staff had apparently been kind and offered them water.

'Operations back to normal'

READ: Special task forces surrounded plane in Pretoria - eyewitness

"When we landed, we apparently had to just stand still in the runway. The pilot announced it was a technical error," she said at the time.

SA Airlink spokesperson Karin Murray said the hijack alert for flight SA8678 from Cape Town to Wonderboom appeared to be an anomaly.

"Seventy two passengers and four crew members are safe. Operations are back to normal," she said.

A statement on the website said the aircraft "emitted an anomalous hijack alert through its transponder".

An online Airlink statement said passengers and crew were safe on the ground "where authorities have held the aircraft as a prescribed precautionary measure while they verify that all is in good order".

Airlink said it would assist authorities with their inquiry, a mandatory step following such incidents.

"Airlink has also initiated an internal investigation into the erroneous transmission."

Read more on:    saa  |  pretoria  |  air travel

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