A Delhi-bound Air India plane from Kochi, with 156 passengers and eight crew onboard, landed under emergency conditions at the international airport here late tonight following an "unspecific call" about a bomb threat, airline officials said.
After the Airbus 320 (flight AI-047) took off from Kochi around 8.40 PM, there was a call from a man saying that there could be a bomb in the aircraft, they said, adding the pilot was asked soon thereafter to land at the nearest airport, which was Bangalore. The plane landed here around 10 pm following the call and the passengers were soon asked to disembark, the officials said. "The flight landed. All passengers are safe. The flight is also safe. Passengers were evacuated from the flight," an official at the airport said.
The flight landed at Bangalore for security check after the Kochi airport received an "unspecific call" from a person, who had come to the Kochi airport to see off his female friend, an airport police official said. The trouble started when the woman contacted her friend over phone saying that there was lot of frisking going on at the Kochi airport and then she switched off her mobile, the official said.
According to the official, the man got panicky and informed the Kochi airport authorities that he was worried about his woman friend as she had switched off her mobile after informing him that there could be bomb threat to the plane, the official said.
The ATC contacted the pilot and informed him about the reported threat following which the plane landed at the Kempe Gowda International Airport, he said.
Soon after the plane landed, the bomb detection squad was pressed into action and the search operation with the involvement of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) was underway till late after midnight tonight and it might take a few hours, the police official said.