Security officials at Delhi airport had some anxious moments when the pilot of an Ariana Afghan Airlines flight sent a hijack alert on Saturday afternoon. Soon, the flight was stopped from taking off and the plane was cordoned off. Later, it was found that the pilot "mistakenly" pressed the 'hijack button' when it was taxiing for take-off, according to reports.
Hindustan Times reported that the Delhi-Kandahar flight carrying 124 passengers and nine crew members was taxiing for take-off at 3.30 pm when the airport authorities got the hijack alert from it. Soon, security men cordoned off the plane. Sources told the newspaper that it was later found that the captain was telling the co-pilot about the procedure for alert when the alarm was accidentally sent to the air traffic control (ATC).
News agency PTI reported that the plane took off nearly two hours later after "satisfactory" security checks.
While there was no immediate official reaction, the sources said the pressing of hijack button had pushed all agencies concerned, including the anti-terror force National Security Guard (NSG), into action.
NSG commandos and officials of other agencies swiftly responded to the situation and surrounded the aircraft, they said.
In December 1999, militants of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistan-based extremist group, had hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814, commonly known as IC 814, in Indian airspace and took it to Kandahar in Afghanistan. Then Indian government led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to surrender before the terrorists and agreed to release three of their members.