NETHERLANDS – Miscommunication between a Spanish airline pilot and Dutch ground control caused a hijack scare on Wednesday that led the Netherlands to send F-16 fighters to intercept a plane.
“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.
The Dutch Defence Ministry had sent two F-16 fighters to intercept the airplane after suspecting a hijacking, a Dutch military police spokesman told Reuters.
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.