Miscommunication leads to Amsterdam plane hijack scare


Miscommunication between a Spanish airline pilot and Dutch ground control caused a hijack scare on Wednesday that led the Netherlands to send F-16 fighters to intercept a plane.

A spokesperson for Spanish carrier Vueling said there was "never a danger" and that the "lack of communication between the pilot and the tower and the airport has activated the security protocol."

Dutch police said the security alert was triggered when radio contact with the plane was lost, Dutch news agency ANP reported.

The plane, which was flying from Malaga in Spain to Amsterdam with about 180 passengers on board, was surrounded by Dutch security forces on landing at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. Police then boarded and searched the aircraft.

Police surround a Vueling plane at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. Photos: Reuters

The Dutch Defence Ministry had sent two F-16 fighters to intercept the airplane after suspecting a hijacking, a Dutch military police spokesman told Reuters.

A passenger on board the plane said nothing unusual was happening, Dutch broadcaster NOS reported, quoting the passenger.

Airport staff said it was not clear when passengers would be allowed to disembark, and directed friends and relatives who were waiting at the arrivals hall to the information desk.

Passengers leave a Vueling plane which is parked at a field near Amsterdam Airport after a hijack scare August 29, 2012.