PETALING JAYA: Three flights bound for Kuala Lumpur from Mumbai, India were affected on Monday night when Interpol notified Mumbai police of a possible bomb threat on board one of the aircraft, The Times of India reported today.
Following the Interpol alert, another call was received by the Mumbai airport control room with the caller also warning of a bomb on board a KL-bound flight. The call could not be traced as it was made via an VOIP (voice-over internet protocol) service online.
With security on high alert, the bomb detection and disposal squad and their sniffer dogs zeroed in on the three flights concerned, namely Malindo Air flight OD-216, scheduled to depart at 11.15pm with 140 passengers, Malaysia Airlines flight MH-195 (11.25pm, 158 passengers) and MH-187 (2am Tuesday, 145 passengers).
“The passengers who had boarded the aircraft were informed about the bomb call and asked to deplane to undergo a security check again.
“Not a single passenger complained or created a fuss. Instead, they came forward and asked us to frisk them all, they didn’t want any untoward incident mid-air,” a police official told the Indian daily.
All three aircraft were combed for any suspicious objects, while the more than 400 passengers and crew and their 500 pieces of check-in bags were put through a thorough security check.
“During the nine hours of search, handbags, check-in bags, cargo compartments, passenger cabins, food galleys, liquor bottles onboard, everything was inspected. We then concluded that it was a hoax call,” a source said, according to the Times of India.
The security search began at around 10pm on Monday and went till 6.23am on Tuesday when the last of the three flights departed.
“The CBI (India’s central bureau of investigation) had an intelligence input through Interpol about a bomb on board a flight bound for Kuala Lumpur.
“I ordered a proper drill, a thorough security check of all flights bound for Kuala Lumpur,” CISF director-general O P Singh told the Times of India.
He added that CISF then monitored all three flights till the time they landed safely at their scheduled destination.
CISF is Central Industrial Security Force, India’s multi-skilled police which has the added responsibility of providing security to major critical infrastructure installations around the country.
According to the Times of India, the top police officials in the state had all rushed to the airport and stayed put till the flights took off on Tuesday morning.
It also reported a Malaysia Airlines spokesperson as saying that the matter was given “the utmost importance and security arrangement in place was 100%”. -FMT