Home Ministry Cautious, But Rules Out Hijack Bid of Air India London-Delhi Flight

Home Ministry Cautious, But Rules Out Hijack Bid of Air India London-Delhi Flight

National carrier, Air India, has rejected media reports of a an aborted hijack attempt on its London-Delhi bound flight.

New Delhi:

The Home Ministry is now looking into the curious incident on board London-Delhi Air India flight when a group of passengers, who claimed to be doctors, reportedly insisted on meeting the captain while treating a fellow passenger who suddenly took ill.

The ministry today asked security agencies to look into the exact sequence of events leading up to the reports of an alleged aborted hijack attempt on Air India's London-Delhi flight.

Earlier in the day, the national carrier and Civil Aviation Authority officials rejected media reports that the crew of Air India flight AI-112 had become suspicious of a passenger who 'feigned' illness. The reports further alleged that other passengers, who claimed to be doctors and offered help to the passenger, were all Pakistani nationals and insisted on meeting the captain. The incident reportedly took place on March 17 after the flight departed from Heathrow Airport, London.

The home ministry, which has also ruled out the possibility of a hijack attempt, has now asked officials to track down the passenger and the two doctors. A press statement issued by the Air India says, "The passenger who required medical assistance was a British passport holder and the nurse who assisted him was of Indian origin." Sources tell NDTV that the patient is a British national of Pakistani origin.

Not wanting to take any chances, the ministry is also looking into a circular issued by a private Indian airline which refers to the alleged incident to warn the crew to reinforce "no unauthorised person to be allowed inside the cockpit" policy.

The government is also likely to seek an explanation from the pilot and Air India on why the Air Traffic Control wasn't informed about the incident.

Air India officials, who have conducted an internal inquiry into the incident, say that the pilot decided not to call for an emergency landing or divert the flight since the patient was responding to the treatment.