Pilot causes panic at Amsterdam airport after activating alert

Pilot for Air Europa flight departing from Schiphol Airport accidentally activates hijacking alert. Incident under investigation.

Arutz Sheva Staff , | updated: 10:05 PM

Terminal of Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, November 6, 2019
Terminal of Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, November 6, 2019

A pilot on a flight from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport accidentally activated a hijacking alert, causing widespread panic.

Several minutes after passengers boarded an Air Europa flight to Madrid, the pilot activated the hijacking alert for a yet unknown reason. At that point, there were 27 passengers and crew on the plane.

Emergency forces were called to all runways of the busy airport.

Dutch security forces later announced that the passengers and crew on the flight had been safely evacuated.

The airline confirmed on Twitter that a security protocol had been activated by mistake.

"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," it wrote.

Images posted on social media showed parts of the airport's D-pier cordoned off to the public, with passengers waiting around for information.

The incident was described as a GRIP-3 situation, meaning an incident or serious event with major consequences to a local population. After it became clear the security alert was a mistake, the airport's twitter account confirmed the temporary concourse closures were over.

Dutch police continue to investigate the incident, even after it became clear that the pilot had mistakenly activated the alert.

Schiphol is Europe's third busiest airport, after London's Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Around 6.5 million people pass through the airport every month, according to statistics published on Schiphol's website.