AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch police arrested 12 passengers on a U.S. Northwest Airlines plane bound for India which was forced to turn back to Amsterdam's Schiphol airport on Wednesday, news agency ANP reported.
ANP said a police spokesman said 12 were arrested, but declined to give further details due to the ongoing investigation. Dutch police were not immediately available to comment on the report.
The Dutch defense ministry said earlier the pilot decided to turn back after the crew said several of the 149 passengers on flight 42 to Mumbai were behaving suspiciously.
Security has been increased at airports worldwide in the last two weeks after British police said they had foiled a plot by British Muslims to blow up planes in the mid-Atlantic using liquid explosives disguised as drinks.
"Police took off a number of people on board and took them for questioning," the Dutch defense ministry said.
An airport spokeswoman said the return of the Northwest plane had not affected other flights at Schiphol, Europe's third largest cargo airport and fourth biggest passenger hub.
Dutch airport officials said the Northwest pilot decided to turn back his 273-seat DC10-30 when it was in German airspace.
A Northwest spokeswoman said passengers were staying in local hotels, adding Northwest would try the flight to Mumbai again on Thursday.
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - Dutch F-16s escorted a Northwest Airlines flight bound for India back to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on Wednesday, and authorities detained several passengers for questioning, an airport spokeswoman said.
The pilot of the aircraft radioed Schiphol for permission to return and a military escort as it was flying over Germany shortly after leaving Amsterdam, said spokeswoman Pamela Kuypers.
Rick Hirs, a spokesman for the customs police at Schiphol, said it was not clear why the plane had returned. "We don't know yet. We are interviewing passengers and crew members," he said.
Hirs said nobody on the plane had been arrested, and there were no injuries.
The Dutch National Terrorism Coordinator's Office had been informed of the incident but said there was no cause to raise the national threat level, said spokeswoman Judith Sluiter.
"It is the same as it was before - light threat," said Sluiter.
It was not immediately clear how many passengers were on board the plane, but a Northwest DC-10 has a seating capacity of 273, and Kuypers said the plane was full "as far as I know."
Kuypers said the aircraft parked at the gate when it returned to allow all other passengers to disembark.
Last year, a British Airways flight returned to Schiphol in similar circumstances, but it turned out to be a false alarm.
I bet they were Football (soccer) hooligans, anybody think otherwise?
Wasn't Mumbai bombed like half a dozen times last week?
Seems like they are waiting for something even bigger to come.
Last month serial bomb blasts hit commuter trains in Mumbai, killing more than 180 people. Indian police said on Tuesday they had foiled another possible attack in the city after they shot dead a suspected Pakistani national.
Terror kills Mumbai's festive spirit
Mumbai: An AK-47 rifle, 2.5 kg of explosives and a timer are just some of the things recovered from two alleged terrorists at Mumbai's Antop Hill on Tuesday morning after an shootout.
One terrorist was killed in the shootout. The recovery was enough to worry an already nervous city.
As the city continues to remain on high alert, Mumbai police concede that things are not as rosy as it seems to be.
"It’s a long drawn battle. It’s not going to be one day’s exercise or one module on earth and everything is over, we have to remain on continuous alert," says Mumbai Police Commissioner A N Roy.
And the security threat will continue. With the Ganesh festival beginning in the next few days, lakhs of people will congregate at thousands of pandals, which are ideal targets for hungry terrorists.
So, the organisers at Mumbai's largest Ganesh pandal at Lalbaug are taking no chances.
"We are getting assistance from the Kala Chowki Police Station. Secondly, 850 of our volunteers will also be keeping a watch. We are also installing close circuit cameras," says organiser Rupesh Pawar.
Just hours after the encounter, passengers at the Dadar railway station became the subject of a bomb scare.
"I feel unsafe. There are police only on big stations, not on the smaller ones," said one passenger.
Mumbai continues to remain on alert with terror refusing to leave the city's backyard.
My Hindu friend told me that today was their July 4th.
WHEN WILL WE REALIZE THAT THESE FOLKS WANT TO KILL US, NO MATTER HOW NICE WE ARE TO THEM? EVEN THEIR MODERATES ARE SILENT, THEREFORE THEY ARE NOT BLAMELESS EITHER. POLITICAL CORRECTNES WILL KILL US IF WE DON'T DITCH IT, LITERALLY.
149/273, thats the sad figure right there. You have to wonder how they will make any money. Especially that flight now that it had to turn around.
Not many people traveling to India, don't worry though it would have had 400 on it on the way back.
Among the 149 passengers aboard Northwest Flight NO0042 was Tim Nelson, the tipster who first alerted the FBI to al Qaida operative Zacarias Moussaoui's odd behavior at a Minneapolis area flight school five years ago.
Is this guy LUCKY or UNLUCKY ?
WASHINGTON - A Northwest Airlines plane flying from Amsterdam to India was escorted back to the airport by Dutch F-16 fighter jets Wednesday, and police arrested 12 passengers whose behavior had aroused the crew’s suspicion.
Coincidentally, among the 149 passengers aboard Northwest Flight NO0042 was the tipster who first alerted the FBI to al Qaida operative Zacarias Moussaoui’s odd behavior at a Minneapolis area flight school five years ago.
Tim Nelson, who was seated in the forward business-class section, said by phone from Amsterdam that he watched the plane dump fuel as it circled back toward the airport, while several federal air marshals appeared in the front of the cabin, hanging their badges around their necks to keep order.
``It was tense,’’ Nelson said, but he said the marshals never flashed weapons. He praised the marshals and flight crew for doing ``an outstanding job.’’
Nelson said it remained unclear whether the flight crew was responding to a serious terrorist incident or ``it was just a misunderstanding, where you had unsophisticated people flying.’’
U.S. government officials, who requested anonymity, said crew members and air marshals observed the passengers in the rear of the wide-bodied DC-10 trying to use cell phones and passing them around during and shortly after takeoff from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Cell phone use is barred on both U.S. and international flights. Some of the passengers also were trying to change seats, they said.
The Dutch Defense Ministry said that while the plane was over German airspace just after takeoff, the pilot radioed for permission to return to Schiphol and asked for an escort of jet fighters, the Associated Press reported. It said two F-16s scrambled from a northern military airfield, and routine security measures were swiftly put in place.
Nelson and a fellow flight-school program manager have been hailed as heroes for their phone calls that led to Moussaoui’s Aug. 16, 2001, arrest and brought the FBI tantalizingly close to uncovering the Sept. 11 terror plot.
Moussaoui pleaded guilty to six conspiracy counts in 2005 and, after a jury narrowly spared him the death penalty last spring, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of release from a ``supermax’’ prison in Colorado.
Dutch police spokesman Rob Staenacker told the AP that he couldn’t disclose the nationalities of those arrested Wednesday or the nature of the suspicions against them. Nelson said he watched Dutch police come aboard in threes and escort a dozen men, 10 of them appearing to be of Pakistani or Middle Eastern descent, from the plane one by one in a remote parking area at the airport.
``Some they handcuffed before they took them out,’’ he said. ``One guy was a white guy, with a tie-dyed shirt, a beard and dreadlocks. He looked like a hippie. There was an older man who appeared to be of Indian descent.’’
A few of the others had beards, and some were dressed in shalwar kameez - traditional long shirts and baggy pants, Nelson said.
The incident was the latest of several terror alerts and flight diversions in the two weeks since British police shut down an alleged Islamic plot to smuggle liquid explosives aboard aircraft and detonate them, possibly with cell phones.
Nelson said he was with a flight crew for a Northwest subsidiary, Classic Aviation, en route to Bombay, India, to ferry a plane with a mechanical problem back to an Amsterdam repair facility.
About 15 minutes into the flight, he said, members of the cabin crew hurried past him and stood in the front of the cabin, pointing to the rear.
Nelson said the lead flight attendant then made an announcement over the plane’s broadcast system advising everyone to remain in his or her seats.
``They needed to get a head count. People were moving around in the back, and they needed to get back in their proper seats,’’ Nelson said.
Then the flight attendant made a second announcement, saying that something was going on and that air marshals were aboard.
Nelson said several marshals stood near him at the front of the cabin, but he couldn’t see what was going on behind him. Nelson said he and his fellow crewmembers advised flight attendants that they were available to help if needed, but that was unnecessary because everyone remained calm.
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Passengers aboard a U.S. plane bound for India and forced to turn back to Amsterdam said air marshals swooped after 12 people began fidgeting with mobile phones and plastic bags, Dutch media said on Thursday.
The 12 were arrested on Wednesday after the plane landed at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. Prosecution authorities said they were still holding the 12 but would not give their identities or nationalities.
"I saw the air marshals run and I knew something was amiss," a 31-year-old businessman aboard the plane told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.
"Some had beards, others were unshaven, one was wearing a robe. Some had baseball caps," another passenger told the paper.
Other passengers commented those arrested were from Asia and aged between 25 and 35.
Go get em, boys!
I hope they didn't forget their weapons in the bathroom.
India says Dutch regret arrest of men on U.S. plane
By Krittivas Mukherjee
Friday, August 25, 2006; 7:25 AM
MUMBAI (Reuters) - The Dutch ambassador to India has expressed regret for the arrest of 12 passengers whose India-bound plane was diverted to Amsterdam after their behavior triggered fears of a hijacking, a government minister said on Friday.
The 12 men, all Muslims, were, however, cleared of any wrongdoing and released and their families said they were victims of racial discrimination
The men were arrested on Wednesday from a U.S. Northwest Airlines flight that was turned back to Amsterdam after they apparently behaved suspiciously.
The Indian government said it was upset about the incident and had conveyed its views to the Dutch ambassador after he had been summoned to the foreign ministry.
"It's an incident which is not only unfortunate, it should have never happened," junior foreign minister Anand Sharma told reporters.
"Their ambassador has expressed regret. We are happy our nationals have been released," he said.
The incident has dominated national headlines and sparked angry debates in Indian newspapers and on TV channels over whether the episode was caused by racial profiling.
Relatives of the 12 men, who were expected in Mumbai later on Friday, said they had no doubt they were targeted because they were Muslim.
"Can you think what we went through in the past two days? Our children are terrorists? We are terrorists because we are Muslims?" asked Abdul Kadir Kolsiwala, father of Ayub Kolsiwala, one of those arrested.
"These are times of suspicion and distrust and we Muslims have to bear the brunt," he told Reuters.
Dutch authorities said on Thursday that they had no evidence to suggest that the men were planning a terrorist attack.
Family members of Ayub, a 35-year-old garment trader and a frequent traveler who was returning from Port-of-Spain, said they expected a written apology from Dutch officials.
"You tell me should someone be allowed to get away just like that after having caused so much of harassment and trauma to so many people?" asked Ayub's wife Sabah.
Kolsiwala's neighbor Sohail Nizami, who was also arrested, called his home from Amsterdam on Friday and said they were doing fine.
"Everybody knows why these 12 men were targetted. Because they are Muslims. All they were doing was joking about something and laughing," Rubina, Nizami's sister-in-law, told Reuters.
Other passengers from the detained flight, who arrived in Mumbai on Thursday night, said they saw the 12 men exchanging seats and fidgeting with their mobile phones.
"I think the men raised the crew's suspicion because they were not listening to them and changing their seats," said Nitin Dalal, a passenger on the detained flight.
"They looked calm and did not question when they were being handcuffed."
Dad gets it
The guys weren't terrorists, good. But did they find any snakes on the plane?