Mallorca airport closed after fake emergency diverts plane

World Saturday 06/November/2021 14:59 PM
By: DW
Mallorca airport closed after fake emergency diverts plane
Police believe the flight was diverted on purpose to facilitate the illegal entry of migrants to Spain

Palma airport, on the Spanish holiday island of Mallorca, was forced to close for nearly four hours on Friday night when several passengers fled a plane that had made an emergency landing, airport authorities said.

An Air Arabia Maroc plane from Casablanca to Istanbul had been diverted to Palma de Mallorca due to an apparent medical emergency.

Passengers stormed the tarmac

When an ambulance arrived to take the allegedly ill passenger — who was reported to have fallen unconscious due to diabetes — to the hospital, he and around 20 passengers fled the plane and ran onto the tarmac.

Authorities believe the diversion was a deliberate attempt to help people to illegally enter Spain, the El Pais newspaper reported.At least five people were arrested, including the passenger who raised the alarm. He was taken to the hospital and found to be medically fit.

He was later held on suspicion of "assisting in illegal immigration." His companion disappeared upon arrival at the hospital.

Investigators believe the remaining escapees managed to climb over the airport perimeter fence and disappear on the island.

Dozens of planes diverted, delayed

Airport operator Aena said 13 arriving planes were diverted, including to nearby Ibiza airport. Sixteen departing planes were grounded. The airport reopened around midnight Friday after being closed for about four hours.