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Thiruvananthapuram : High drama unfolded at the airport here today when the pilot of an Abu Dhabi-Kochi Air India flight pressed the hijack button in panic after passengers created a ruckus in the cockpit following diversion of the plane to Thiruvananthapuram.
According to airport officials, protesting passengers allegedly entered the cockpit of the aircraft after having waited in the plane for over four hours to go to Kochi.
The pilot then pressed the hijack button, they said. Following the message, police and other security personnel surrounded the aircraft which was parked at the airport.
The plane was diverted to Thiruvananthapuram due to bad weather, the officials said. Passengers refused to deboard the aircraft despite repeated requests by the airlines.
Aviation regulator DGCA has ordered a probe into the incident, official sources said in New Delhi.
Premjit, one of the passengers, said the flight was supposed to land at Kochi at 3:30 AM but due to fog at the airport, the plane, which had already been delayed from Abu Dhabi, landed at Thiruvananthapuram at 6:30 AM.
Nothing was done to take the passengers to Kochi and they were told that the plane had to wait at the Thiruvananthapuram airport for refuelling, he said.
"The passengers kept waiting," he said.
Sources said police was unlikely to register case against passengers and felt a humane approach should be taken.
Police felt the passengers were upset because they had to wait for a long time and there was no security issue, the sources said.
They said another pilot had been sent to the aircraft and "there is no emergency of hijack as claimed by the previous pilot".
As per rules, pilots can press three separate transponder codes for different emergencies. One code is pressed in case of "unlawful interference" in the operation of the aircraft which in effect means hijack.
The second code is pressed in case of loss of communication between the aircraft and the authorities on the ground while the third code is pressed for a situation of emergency on board.