Call it post 26/11 jitters, but an quick reacting flight attendant and under-cover commandos caused a security flap and high drama at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.
An Air India Airbus A320-200, IC-401 from New Delhi to Kolkata with 104 people on board, was lined up awaiting clearance for take-off when a woman passenger, an off duty flight attendant for another airline, alerted cabin crew of the suspicious behaviour of three fellow passengers travelling together, after she observed one of them reading a book about Air Disasters.
When she questioned them they were dismissive claiming the book had nothing to do with her. Her suspicions raised the off-duty flight attendant passenger alerted the Air India cabin crew. The three suspect passengers refused to answer questions about the book to the on-duty crew and also did not identify themselves.
The quick reacting Air India flight attendant informed the captain, who, following procedure decided to return to the gate.
The alert created high drama. As the airplane returned to the gate, security forces cordoned off the airplane and interrogated the three suspect passengers, who turned out to be three commandos of the elite Special Protection Group,which is entrusted with protecting amongst others, the Prime Minister of India.
The book they were reading was a training manual. For obvious reasons SPG commandos are expected not to reveal their identity, so no action could be taken against the commando for failing to clear the air at the outset. The airplane was finally able to depart after a delay of two hours.
Talk about the ultimate anti-climax.
What is your view of this incident? Post a comment.
Hat tip to Simon Hradecky for the tip.