Amsterdam hijack a false alarm

Wed, Aug 29, 2012, 01:00

Dutch military police have confirmed that a report of a hijacking on  a plane that landed at Amsterdam Schiphol airport from Malaga in  Spain was a false alarm.

Two F-16 fighter jets intercepted the aircraft carrying 180 passengers and accompanied it to Schiphol, where it was surrounded by security forces.

However, Vueling, the Spanish carrier which operates the plane, denied there was a hostage situation and said the emergency was sparked by a miscommunication between the pilot and air traffic control.

"There was never any danger. There was a lack of communication between the pilot and the tower and the airport has activated the security protocol," a spokeswoman for Spanish carrier Vueling said.

Dutch police said the security alert was triggered when radio contact with the plane was lost, Dutch news agency ANP reported.

The plane, which was flying from Malaga in Spain to Amsterdam with about 180 passengers on board, was surrounded by Dutch security forces on landing at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. Police then boarded and searched the aircraft.

A passenger on board the plane said nothing unusual was happening, Dutch broadcaster NOS reported, quoting the passenger.

"In fact nothing was going on. We had to fly a few rounds. We are now waiting in the plane, the doors are still closed. But there is no hijack," NOS quoted the person as saying.

Airport staff said it was not clear when passengers would be allowed to disembark, and directed friends and relatives who were waiting at the arrivals hall to the information desk.

Barcelona-based Vueling is Spain's second-biggest airline and operates a fleet of 59 leased Airbus A320-series planes.

Earlier today, part of Schiphol was evacuated after workers unearthed a suspected second World War bomb near the main terminal building.

The airport’s Pier C was shut down for arriving and departing flights while military bomb disposal experts checked the suspected explosive and decided what to do with it.

The suspected bomb was uncovered early today by workers digging near the pier, which houses many of Schiphol’s departure and arrival gates.

Schiphol, just outside Amsterdam, is one of Europe’s busiest aviation hubs.

Meanwhile, officials in Munich evacuated the central Schwabing district forcing over 2,500 people out of their homes last night after another second World War bomb was found during building works. Bomb experts blew up the 250kg device last night, after they decided they could not defuse it.

Agencies