A Tel Aviv-Istanbul flight turns around after passengers receive images of an airline crash on their cell phones.
Nine Israeli youths were detained on Tuesday for delaying a flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul after sharing photos of the plane crash and causing panic among fellow passengers. As the Anadolujet plane prepared for takeoff, many passengers received disturbing images of the airline crash, prompting crews to turn around and call police.
The Boeing 737, operated by a subsidiary of Turkish Airlines, was allowed to leave Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport with about 160 passengers on board, when multiple passengers received an intriguing request through their iPhone’s airdrop feature. Those who approved it saw pictures of the 2009 Turkish Airlines crash in Amsterdam and the wreckage of an Asiana Airlines flight to San Francisco in 2013.
“We got on the flight and the plane started moving. Most people have received a request for confirmation of a photo on AirDrop. Some approved, some did not. A passenger told Israeli broadcaster Kan.
“The plane stopped, and the crew asked who got the pictures. After a few minutes we were told to get off. The police arrived, so we realized something had happened. Airport authorities told us there was a security incident, and they removed all our luggage from a secondary inspection plan. “ Witnesses added.
“One woman fainted, another had a panic attack.” Another passenger, identified as Diana, told Israel’s Channel 12.
Authorities initially feared a terrorist or cyber attack, but it quickly became clear that the images were coming from inside the plane. The perpetrators were quickly identified as nine Israeli nationals, aged around 18, who were on board and detained for questioning. They are all known to be residents of the same village in Galilee, northern Israel.
“I’m sure the police and security authorities will find out why.” Airport Authority spokesman Oren Lefler told Channel 12.
After a delay of several hours, the 737 departed and landed safely at Istanbul’s Sabiha Goksen Airport, dropping off nine miscreants. They may be accused of spreading false information which creates fear and panic, such as pictures “An attack could be interpreted as a threat,” Police said. If convicted, they could face up to three years in prison.
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