Pilot accidentally triggers hijack alarm, causes major security incident

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

The incident took place at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport earlier this week. Reports say an Air Europa pilot on a plane bound for Madrid triggered the hijack alarm just before take-off.

The aircraft was evacuated, and the airport’s military police tweeted that they were responding to a “suspicious situation.” The BBC reports that parts of Schiphol's D-pier were cordoned off to the public, and while flights still landed at other parts of the airport, some were grounded for around 60 minutes.

About an hour after police responded to the alert, Air Europa tweeted: "False alarm. In the flight Amsterdam-Madrid this afternoon was activated, by mistake, a warning that triggers protocols on hijackings at the airport."

"Nothing has happened, all passengers are safe and sound waiting to fly soon. We deeply apologise."

The incident was originally described as being a GRIP-3 situation, which means an event with potentially serious consequences for those in the vicinity.

Exactly how the alert was triggered is still unclear. According to FAA documents, pilots can use a special transponder beacon code, typing 7500, to raise an alert for unlawful interference in the case of a hijacking, so it could be the case that the entire situation was the result of a typo.

Image credit: hxdyl via Shutterstock

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
You would think on this type of system there would be a "sign / counter sign" verification by voice with the tower. While not 100% foolproof it certainly would allow for simple verification in such a case .....
 
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Capaill

TS Evangelist
You would think on this type of system there would be a "sign / counter sign" verification by voice with the tower. While not 100% foolproof it certainly would allow for simple verification in such a case .....
Have you a geiger counter?
(sorry, that's the only sign phrase I know)
 

Chris tix

TS Rookie
Reports say an Air Europa pilot on a plane bound for Madrid triggered the hijack alarm just before take-off.
"Just before take-off" it was while boarding. Far away from just before take off.

You would think on this type of system there would be a "sign / counter sign" verification by voice with the tower. While not 100% foolproof it certainly would allow for simple verification in such a case .....
In a serious hijack you will be happy if you are able to send 7500. There would be no time sign / counter sign.
There is a 'send' button which has been triggered as well. So there is a confirmation
However the transponder was not on stand by (Needs to be at the gate) and pilot pressed send as well.

Contact with ATC will be not taken 'seriously' after 7500 has been submitted. Everything can be said under threat.

Pilot reported immediately that it was a false alarm, however we don't take any risks.