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F16s escort plane to Schiphol after 'hijacking' mix-up

Two F16s were scrambled to escort a flight to the ground after its pilot failed to make contact with the ground.

Image: Krystof Kriz/Czech News Agency

Updated, 14:05

TWO DUTCH MILITARY jet fighter planes were scrambled to escort a passenger plane to the ground after a communications mix-up caused fears that the jet had been hijacked.

The Netherlands’ national broadcaster NOS reported that two F16 planes were despatched to escort the flight – a Vueling flight from Malaga, Spain -after the pilot had failed to make radio contact with the ground.

AFP quoted a spokeswoman from the airline, however, who simply said reports of a hostage or hijacking situation were simply “not true”.

Reuters said the reports of a possible hijack were the result of a “mis-communication” between the pilot and air traffic control.

NOS also quoted the airline, Vueling, as saying there were no unusual circumstances on board – and a defence spokesman who said it was standard practice for F16s to be scrambled if radio communications could not be established.

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The plane remains on the ground at Schiphol, where law enforcement agencies are likely to inspect the cabin as a precaution before passengers are permitted to disembark.

It has been a busy day at Schiphol, one of Europe’s busiest airports – earlier today part of a departures hall was evacuated after a suspected World War II bomb was discovered.

The device was found by construction workers digging near one of the airport’s piers. The airport was used as a military base by Nazi Germany during the war, and was a regular target for Allied attacks.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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