Dutch military police Tweeted on Wednesday night to say passengers onboard an aircraft at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport are safe following reports of an attempted hijacking. Earlier in the evening, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee said it had been deployed to the airport to investigate a “suspicious” incident that was taking place onboard a plane at concourse D.
Op dit moment onderzoeken wij een verdachte situatie aan boord van een vliegtuig op #schiphol. Nadere mededelingen volgen.
— Koninklijke Marechaussee (@Marechaussee) November 6, 2019
Neither law enforcement or Schipol airport officials were able to immediately provide any further details but the airline at the centre of the emergency has Tweeted to say the issue has been resolved.
Eyewitnesses say an entire pier at the airport was evacuated of passengers as police locked down a large part of the departures area. The airport continued to operate during the police investigation but some inbound planes were diverted to remote stands away from the terminal building.
Some Dutch media outlets even reported that three men armed with knives had attempted to hijack an aircraft preparing for departure. Air traffic control communications suggested a pilot had mentioned a possible “hijack” at some point during the incident but the reports of an actual terrorist attack turned out to be false…
#AirEuropaInfo 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 apologize.
— Air Europa (@AirEuropa) November 6, 2019
The aircraft in question was an Airbus A330 operated by Air Europa and bound for Madrid. As the news of a possible hijacking went viral, Air Europa’s official Twitter feed declared the incident a “false alarm”. Saying an emergency hijack code had been used by mistake, the airline’s social media team said: “Nothing has happened, all passengers are safe and sound waiting to fly soon. We deeply apologize.”
In an update posted to Schipol’s social media feeds, the airport said the passengers and crew were “safely off” the plane but that on-site investigative work continued.
The Dutch De Telegraaf reported a major emergency response with a convoy of ambulances being deployed to the airport and hospitals in the region being put on standby.