Dramatic moment over 20 men flee plane after passenger ‘fakes coma so they could escape’ – World News
The men put their lives and those of others at risk by forcing their way off the Airbus A320 and disappearing into the darkness at Majorca’s busy Palma airport
Astonishing footage shows more than 20 passengers escaping from a plane and sprinting across a runaway – after a traveller allegedly faked a diabetic coma.
The men put their lives and those of others at risk by forcing their way off the Airbus A320 in what police believe may have been a planned to enter Spain illegally.
They appeared to push past medical and airline staff at a plane exit door after a brief struggle before running down the aircraft steps and disappearing into the darkness at Majorca’s busy Palma airport.
A woman could be overheard shouting: “They’re escaping, they’re escaping, the lads are staying in Spain” as they fled the plane.
The drama unfolded shortly after the Air Arabic Maroc-operated aircraft, which was heading from Casablanca to Istanbul in Turkey, made an unscheduled emergency landing in Majorca when a passenger “fell ill” and went into an apparent diabetic coma.
The Moroccan man was rushed to hospital with a companion who promptly escaped the medical centre as the “sick” man was given a clean bill of health following a check-up.
As he was being taken to Son Llatzer Hospital and the aircraft doors were open, 22 other passengers took advantage of the confusion to make their daring escape, forcing a shutdown of operations at the airport which lasted nearly four hours and caused chaos.
Twelve of the 24 passengers who left the plane at Palma Airport remained unaccounted for last night after a central government spokeswoman confirmed several men all believed to be Moroccans had been intercepted in different parts of the island.
Most were held in the municipality of Marratxi, a half-hour drive north-east of Palma, including four detained following a tip-off from a local who had seen them acting “suspiciously” in the street and linked them to the plane escape.
The majority of the missing men are thought to be Moroccan although one has been described as Palestinian.
Spanish officials said they could not rule out the possibility the incident was an “orchestrated” coup to enter the country illegally in their first comments yesterday regarding the incident.
But they said they had no evidence at this stage to point to the incident being planned beforehand and linked to a “deliberate” attempt by another passenger to fake a medical complaint.
Responding to earlier reports a Moroccan man on board the Airbus A320 from Casablanca to Istanbul had exaggerated the seriousness of a diabetes problem so he could be taken to a hospital with a companion who vanished on arrival, a central government spokeswoman for the Balearic Islands said: “The protocol that is always applied in a medical emergency that the pilot of the plane requested was applied in this case.
“It may be that this protocol is revised once the current investigation is concluded in the light of this unique event in our country.”
Revealing 12 of the 24 passengers who had abandoned the plane were still missing, Aina Calvo said: “All options are still on the table but we don’t have any information that enables us to affirm at this stage that we are dealing with an orchestrated operation by people who have entered Spain irregularly and formed part of a pre-conceived plan.”
Contradicting earlier information, she also insisted none of the passengers who had been intercepted had requested political asylum.
Police sources said however they believed at least part of the group that fled the plane had planned their mission beforehand, lending support to the theory the unnamed passenger that sparked the medical emergency had invented or exaggerated his desperate state of health to facilitate the coup.
Spanish airports authority Aena confirmed business had been resumed as normal in a tweet just before midnight on Friday, some three and a half hours after it revealed all normal airport operations had been suspended following the shock runway invasion.
It confirmed yesterday morning/on Saturday morning 13 flights scheduled to land at Palma had been diverted – five to Barcelona, four to Ibiza, two to Menorca, one to Madrid Barajas and another to Valencia.
Around 40 incoming and outbound flights, including several international flights, are said to have been delayed.
The National Police and the Civil Guard, Spain’s two national police forces, are involved in the hunt for the runaways and are believed to be getting assistance from local town-hall employed police forces across the island.
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