New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) A Turkish Airlines aircraft made an emergency landing at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport here following a bomb scare. However, no explosives were found onboard after a thorough search.
An official said that flight TK0065 was on its way from Bangkok to Istanbul with 134 passengers on board when someone saw a bomb threat written on a windowpane of the bathroom. According to the sources, the threat message was written by using a lipstick.
Turkish Airlines senior vice president (Media Relations) Ali Gence said that flight TK0065 from Bangkok to Istanbul (an A-330 aircraft, carrying 134 passengers) was diverted to Delhi “following a possible bomb threat on board” and “successfully landed” there. All passengers and cabin crew were evacuated safely.
He said necessary safety checks were taking place.
“Furthermore, precautions have been taken for towing the aircraft in line with standard safety procedures. This is currently in progress. After completing all necessary safety checks, the plane will continue its journey to Bangkok,” Gence said in a statement.
Airport sources earlier told IANS that there were 148 passengers on the flight.
“The crew saw a message about ‘bomb in cargo hold’ written on a bathroom mirror and informed the pilot and co-pilot. The pilot contacted the Nagpur Air Traffic Control, who guided them to the Delhi ATC,” a source said.
Sources said the plane made the emergency landing at around 1.40 p.m. at IGI soon after directions from the Delhi ATC.
“The flight was made to land at an isolation parking. All passengers were evacuated safely from the flight and emergency declared at the airport,” a police official said.
All security agencies, including the National Security Guard (NSG) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) were placed on high alert. A bomb disposal squad scanned the plane along with a dog squad. Senior officials of CISF and NSG officials held a meeting after the bomb scare.
“All passengers and crew members are being interrogated by joint teams of intelligence and security agencies. All baggage especially handbags are also being searched to match the lipstick tone and colour which was used to write the threat message,” a source said.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh also held a high-level meeting with Home Secretary L.C. Goyal and the Intelligence Bureau.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said that all “the necessary arrangements” were in place for any eventuality.