Woman pilot of Air India Express complains of threats

Thiruvananthapuram Assistant Commissioner of Police K.S. Vimal, who heads the Kerala Police team probing the October 19 incident when a woman pilot of Air India Express sounded a "hijack" alert, said that the pilot has said she is being threatened over email.

Vimal said the police, after speaking for two hours with the pilot, W. Rupali, had got her version of what happened on that day.

"Yes, in a complaint to her employer in Mumbai and also to us, the pilot said that she was receiving threatening emails from the Middle East," Vimal said.

The police team that is probing the incident recorded a statement from the pilot last month, in which she said that the hijack alert was sent out as she received threats from passengers.

Following the arrival of an Air India Express flight at Thiruvananthapuram from Abu Dhabi on October 19, after being diverted from Kochi on account of bad weather, matters got out of hand as passengers refused to alight in Thiruvananthapuram, claiming that the distance by road to Kochi was nearly 220 kilometres.

Some passengers reportedly rushed to the cockpit, and the woman pilot alleged that she was threatened by them. She sounded the hijack alert, sending air traffic control across the country into a tizzy.

The police earlier identified six passengers as "trouble-makers". Their statements were recorded and they were let off.

The charge sheet to be filed by the police in this connection has become a matter of great curiosity.

The Kerala government, meanwhile, has assured passengers of that flight that they need not fear any harassment.

Story First Published: November 07, 2012 20:56 IST

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