BENGALURU:Tension gripped the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in the wee hours of Saturday after security staff received a message saying bombs had been placed on three international flights.
The Bomb Threat Assessment Committee, the CISF and a sniffer dog squad boarded the three planes and scoured every nook and cranny. After six-and-a-half hours, they came to the conclusion that the message was a hoax, and cleared the flights for take-off.
At 1.41 am, the WhatsApp messaging platform connected to the airport’s website for feedback and customer grievances received the threat. The message said explosives had been placed on three flights — Lufthansa (LH 755), Saudi Arabian Airlines (SV 5643) and Air France (AF 191) — and would go off soon. One of the flights was carrying 351 pilgrims to Mecca. Airport staff immediately alerted the security and bomb disposal squad.
Creating panic among the public is a serious offence and the offender could be punished with three to five years in jail, a senior police officer told Express.
In the recent past, Cubbon Park police filed two chargesheets under IPC Section 507 for criminal intimidation by anonymous communication. “One of the accused, Raju, had made a hoax call saying there was a bomb at the chief minister’s house,” he said.
Long Wait: Following the incident, Lufthansa’s flight LH 755 to Frankfurt, scheduled to take off at 3.10 am, was delayed by more than three hours. It took off at 6.20 am.
Saudi Arabian Airlines flight SV 5643 was delayed by 4 hours and 30 minutes. It left for Jeddah at 7.45 am. Air France flight AF 191 was delayed by 20 hours, leaving Bengaluru at 10.15 pm to Paris. Passengers waited patiently, aware that the checks were related to security.
A senior police officer told Express a man aged about 30 was arrested from his house in the city in this connection. Since the case is sensitive, investigation has been handed over to the Central Crime Branch, which will look into his possible links with any radical groups.
PANIC AT KIA
■ Planes scoured for 6.5 hours
■ Flight to France delayed by 20 hrs
■ 351 Haj pilgrims on Saudi plane