Scare on Air India plane, turns out to be security drill

New Delhi, Oct 4: A security drill on Friday created a major scare and sent Air India and security officials into a tizzy after a grenade-like object was found on a Boeing 747 aircraft when it landed at Jeddah in the wee hours.

The object, earlier suspected to be a "defused grenade", turned out to be only a "plastic wrapper", an Air India official said, adding that the plane was checked by Jeddah airport security personnel and cleared for further operations.

The airline officials also made it clear that the Boeing 747-400, operating flight AI-965 on Mumbai-Hyderabad-Jeddah route, was not the one which was kept on a stand-by for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to the US.

The plane had been operating on the Delhi-Frankfurt route during this period, they said. The Prime Minister had undertaken a five-day visit to the US from September 25.

As soon as the jumbo jet landed at the Jeddah airport, the flight crew informed the local security agencies, who took over the aircraft and conducted a thorough check.

"After screening the aircraft and the object, which was found to be a plastic wrapper, the Jeddah airport security cleared the aircraft for further operations," an Air India statement said.

Earlier, sources had said the object was a defused grenade. Official sources said this was part of a security drill carried out by the National Security Guards since the last week of September at select airports in the country to check the alertness of the crew and others concerned.

Air India has set up a committee under the chairmanship of its Joint Managing Director and Joint Commissioner of Security, Civil Aviation to further investigate the incident as also the alertness of the crew.

"Air India would like to clear that at no point of time was the safety of the passengers or the aircraft compromised," the statement added.


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