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Wednesday, 11 January 2017 | MYT 9:41 AM

Report: Mumbai airport on high alert after bomb scare affects three KL-bound flights

FILE PHOTO: A SpiceJet Boeing 737-800 aircraft taxis on the tarmac after landing at Chhatrapati Shivaji international airport

FILE PHOTO: A SpiceJet Boeing 737-800 aircraft taxis on the tarmac after landing at Chhatrapati Shivaji international airport

MUMBAI: An Interpol tip-off about a bomb on board a flight bound for Kuala Lumpur put Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on high alert Monday night, the Times of India reports.

Security agencies searched three aircraft - two Malaysia Airlines flights and one Malindo Air plane - for suspicious objects, while more than 400 passengers and 500 pieces of check-in baggage were put through a thorough security check.

A bomb detection and disposal squad as well as sniffer dogs were also deployed.

The flights were delayed by four to five hours due to the security checks.

According to the report, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India's domestic intelligence and security service, received intelligence input through Interpol about a bomb on a Kuala Lumpur-bound flight.

There was also another alert from a different source that came in at around 9.50pm on Monday.

It was reportedly a VoIP (Voice-over-Internet Protocol) call, and the anonymous caller spoke about a bomb on board a flight to Kuala Lumpur and disconnected after delivering the message.

Security agencies zoomed in on all three Kuala Lumpur-bound flights - the 11.15pm Malindo Air flight OD-216 with 140 passengers on board; the 11.25pm Malaysia Airlines flight MH-195 with 158 passengers, and the 2am MH-187 flight with 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," the Times of India quoted a police official as saying.

"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," said the official.

The security search began at around 10pm on Monday and went on till 6.23am on Tuesday when the last of the three flights departed.

The Malindo Air flight arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 11.20am on Tuesday while MH195 arrived at 11.35am and MH187 at 1.56pm.

"During the nine hour search, handbags, check-in bags, cargo compartments, passenger cabins, food galleys, liquor bottles on board - everything was inspected. We then concluded that it was a hoax call," a source told the paper.

The Times of India also quoted a Malaysia Airlines spokesperson as saying the matter was given "the utmost importance and security arrangement in place was 100%".

There have been two recent incidents of bombings at airports.

In March last year, two suicide bombers, carrying explosives in large suitcases, attacked a departure hall at Brussels Airport.

Then in June 2016, two assailants opened fire and detonated bombs near a security checkpoint at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. A third attacker set off an explosion at the parking lot across the street from the terminal.

Tags / Keywords: KL , Mumbai , Flights , Bomb


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