- Dutch police responded to a “suspicious situation” at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport Wednesday evening.
- Air Europa, a Spanish airline, tweeted that a distress signal had been “activated by mistake,” indicating a hijacking attempt. The airline said that it was a false alarm.
- Dutch paper De Telegraaf reported that the pilot was showing a trainee in the cockpit “how everything works” when they set the transponder code to 7500 – which signifies a hijacking in progress – by mistake.
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A false hijacking alarm aboard a plane sitting at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport drew a heavy police response Wednesday evening.
The incident happened just before 7:00 p.m. local time, according to Matt Hallmann, a passenger transiting through Schiphol. Photos posted to social media showed the airports D-concourse blocked off by police.
A customer service agent at Schiphol, reached by phone, told Business Insider that the Royal Marechaussee, or the Dutch military police, were responding and referred questions to the government. A spokesperson for the Marechaussee did not immediately respond. The agency tweeted that it was investigating a “suspicious situation” on board.
Air Europa, a Spanish airline, tweeted that a distress signal on a plane scheduled to fly to Madrid was “activated by mistake,” falsely suggesting that there was a hijacking attempt on board. Dutch police said at about 8:45 p.m. local time that passengers and crew had safely left the plane.
The transponder on the plane, which transmits a four digit code during flight, was accidentally set to code 7500, an emergency code that is used to signify a hijacking attempt in progress.
The code was inadvertently transmitted when the pilot was showing a trainee in the cockpit “how everything works,” according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
Schiphol is the third busiest airport in Europe, following London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle.