TEL AVIV (Jul. 31)
A bomb scare forced an El Al plane with 224 passengers aboard to make an emergency landing in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday.
The captain of Flight 377, bound from Tel Aviv to Copenhagen, made the decision to land in consultation with El Al headquarters in Tel Aviv, after a passenger confessed to a flight attendant that she had not told the truth about the contents of her luggage.
El AI passengers are subjected to the most stringent security checks of any airline. They are asked by security personnel, among other things, whether they packed their own luggage and whether it was left unattended.
The passenger, described as a 20-year-old Swedish national returning from a Variety International convention in Israel, told the EI AI steward she had failed to mention that she carried “a gift from an Arab acquaintance” in her baggage.
The woman said she grew increasingly uneasy over the subterfuge and about an hour into the five-hour flight decided to confess.
The El Al plane was met by Turkish security personnel at Istanbul and the woman and her baggage were taken from the plane. The plane resumed its flight after about an hour’s delay.
An inspection of the woman’s luggage yielded nothing of a suspicious nature, but the passenger, whose name was withheld, was detained by airport authorities for questioning.
She reportedly continued her journey Wednesday on a Scandinavian Airlines jet. An El Al spokesman said the airline was considering taking legal action against the passenger.