Hoax bomb threat delays Mumbai-Ahmedabad flight

hoax bomb threat delays mumbai-ahmedabad flight

The IndiGo flight was scheduled to leave for Ahmedabad at 9.30pm but took off from Mumbai at 10.45pm after a safety check. (ANI)

A hoax email to airport authorities in Mumbai threatening to blow up an Indigo flight led to a delay of several hours on Saturday. Sahar police registered a case in the matter against unidentified persons on Sunday.

The email was received at around 6.30pm on Saturday on the official email account of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport Limited, which is given out to passengers so that they can give feedback about the airport, police said. The single line email, which was sent from an encrypted Proton Mail account, simply said, “I will blow up flight 6E 6045.”

Flight 6E 6045, scheduled to leave for Ahmedabad at 9.30pm, was able to take off at 10.45pm after a safety check.

The airport authorities contacted the airline and confirmed that a flight with that serial number was scheduled to depart for Ahmedabad in a few hours. The flight was thoroughly searched and nothing suspicious was found, after which it was cleared for take-off.

“Since the email was sent much before the passengers had boarded the flight, we were able to check it quickly and confirm that it was safe,” said senior police inspector Sanjay Govilkar, Sahar police station.

“We have registered a case of criminal intimidation and statements conducing to public mischief under the Indian Penal Code, and are working on tracing and identifying the sender of the email,” he added.

Tracing the perpetrator might be more challenging and time consuming than it is in the case of more widely used email service providers, an investigating officer said.

“Proton Mail is an end-to-end encrypted email service provider based in Geneva, Switzerland. The encryption makes it difficult to trace the source, and while we will be sending a diplomatic request to them seeking details, their servers are not based on Indian soil, and there is no compulsion on them to follow requests issued under our laws,” he said, seeking anonymity.

Police are also examining the passenger list of the flight to see if anyone may have had reason to intentionally delay the flight, or cause inconvenience to someone who was to be on board the flight, officers said.

IndiGo, in a statement, said “due to a specific bomb threat, IndiGo flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad was impacted on October 1, 2022.””The bomb threat protocol was initiated and the flight operated after all the checks were completed,” the airline said in its statement, though it did not share details like the number of passengers on board, flight number and delay in departure due to the incident.

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