Rotterdam airport faced some tense moments on October 3rd after realizing that a passenger had tricked the security system and flown out in an aircraft without a valid boarding pass. The entire episode resulted in unscheduled landings of two Transavia flights, as initially, it was not clear to the authorities which plane was carrying the suspected passenger.
The day began normally at Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM) on October 3rd without much disruption, and everything was going as planned. But it was all about to change in the evening with one passenger leaving the security personnel scratching their heads and two Transavia flights making diversions.
The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee told de Gelderlander that the passenger in question (a Russian woman, it has been learned) pressed an emergency button when she was at the security check. This brought everything to a standstill and created temporary confusion and chaos at the premises.
Sensing an opportunity to breach the system, the woman then managed to slip through the security check, reached the tarmac, and boarded the nearest aircraft she could find.
The plane was a Transavia Boeing 737 preparing for flight HV5023 to Malaga, Spain, with a scheduled departure of 16:00. It was only when it was mid-flight that the captain was informed about the unwanted passenger by the Marechaussee, following which he diverted the plane to Madrid.
It has been reported that the woman in question was behaving strangely on the flight and was escorted out of the plane by Spanish police. Before leaving for Malaga, the crew also checked the aircraft for any items that could have missed the security checks in Rotterdam.
Not the only diversion of the day
HV5023 wasn’t the only flight affected by the incident. In the chaos that ensued from the security breach at Rotterdam, officials couldn’t initially figure out exactly which aircraft the woman flew in. It was first assumed that she boarded another Transavia plane on its way to Faro, Portugal.
Another Transavia flight to Faro was also diverted due to confusion. Photo: Transavia
When the crew of flight HV6093 was informed about this, they immediately diverted to Bordeaux, France. It was only when the plane was too far into the landing approach that they were given the all-clear, but by then, the pilot decided to go ahead with the landing.
While passengers stowing away on flights is rare, it’s not unheard of either. In January, civil unrest in Ethiopia forced two ground technicians employed with Ethiopian Airlines to stow away on a cargo plane in order to seek asylum overseas.
They climbed into the storage section of a cargo-converted Ethiopian Airlines Airbus A350, where they waited for more than three hours in the cold before making it to Belgium. The two workers successfully claimed asylum there.
In January, a man stowed away on the nose wheel of an Amsterdam-bound Cargolux Boeing 747. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying
The same month, a man stowed away on a Cargolux Boeing 747 bound for Amsterdam. He was thankfully found alive in the nose wheel section of the plane and was taken to the hospital in stable condition.
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