- The pilot who caused chaos at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on Wednesday by sounding a hijacking alarm was reportedly showing a trainee what to do in real life.
- The unnamed Air Europa pilot was explaining “how everything works” to the rookie pilot when he entered the plane’s “hostage alert” code, 7500, De Telegraaf said.
- In the aftermath of the alarm, all 27 passengers on the plane and a large number of passengers in the terminal were evacuated while the Dutch military police investigated.
- The airline, Air Europa, apologized, tweeting: “During the Amsterdam – Madrid flight this afternoon a warning that triggers protocols on hijackings at the airport was activated by mistake.”
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The pilot who caused a mass evacuation from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport by sounding the hijacking alarm on Wednesday was reportedly showing a trainee what to do if the plane were actually hijacked.
The unnamed Air Europa pilot typed the plane’s “hostage alert” code, 7500, into the transponder as they prepared to depart for Madrid. The pilot was showing the trainee “how everything works,” according to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
The call prompted all 27 passengers aboard Flight 1094 and a large number of passengers in the terminals to be evacuated and saw the Royal Marechaussee, the Dutch military police, investigate.
In a video published by De Telegraaf, the pilot on the flight could be heard apologizing for the delay, saying he “created a hijack alert.”
“I would like to apologize for the delay that we are having today,” he said. “You can see that we made a mistake in the cockpit. We have created a hijack alarm. That’s what happened. I’m so sorry and I apologize for the delay again.”
It is unclear when the pilot made the announcement.
- Mark Crompton via Reuters
The Spanish airline later announced there was nothing to worry about and apologized.
“False Alarm,” it tweeted. “During the Amsterdam – Madrid flight this afternoon a warning that triggers protocols on hijackings at the airport was activated by mistake.
“Nothing has happened, all passengers are safe and sound waiting to fly soon. We deeply apologize.”
#AirEuropaInfo Vals alarm. Op de vlucht van Amsterdam tot Madrid werd vanmiddag, per ongeluk, een waarschuwing geactiveerd die protocollen voor ontvoeringen op de luchthaven lanceert. Alle passagiers wachten perfect om snel te vliegen. Ons excuus voor 't ongemak.
— Air Europa (@AirEuropa) November 6, 2019
Passengers in the airport during the plane’s evacuation reported panic and “screaming” as police officers stormed the terminal in response.
“Nobody knows what is happened here, there was a lot of screaming going on and armed police running about,” one passenger told the Mail Online.
“It’s quite a frightening experience as we are behind a cordon unable to move for our own safety as police is everywhere,” the person added.
Pictures from inside the terminal building showed large numbers of passengers massed during the hijacking scare:
— tom jessen ???? (@tomjessen) November 6, 2019
Schiphol is the third-busiest airport in Europe, following London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle. It handles more than 70 million passengers annually.