Fighter jets scramble into skies over Austria after Turkish Airlines pilot inadvertently triggers hijack alert on flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul
- Incident began when plane was hit by a pressurisation problem
- Pilot mistakenly activated hijack alarm while responding to problem
- Plane was met by two fighter jets as it diverted to Vienna
A Turkish Airlines pilot inadvertently sparked widespread panic after he triggered a hijack alarm during a flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul.
Fearing the plane had been commandeered by terrorists, Austria’s military deployed two fighter jets to escort the Boeing 737 to Vienna International Airport.
The incident occurred Friday afternoon after the pilot requested permission to divert to Vienna and make an emergency landing.
A Turkish Airlines pilot activated a hijack alarm after the plane was hit by a pressurisation problem
The plane's oxygen masks descended from the ceiling when there was a problem with the cabin pressure
According to authorities, the error was coupled with a depressurization warning and then unexplained radio silence from the cockpit.
The passenger plane had been flying from Frankfurt to Istanbul when panicked passengers saw oxygen masks fall from the ceiling after it was hit by a pressurisation problem.
Two fighter jets escorted the plane until it made an emergency landing in Vienna
Flight radar data show that the plane was flying over the Alps when it changed course and flew to Vienna.
The pilot - who had asked to make an emergency landing - apparently inadvertently activated the hijack alarm as he responded to the problem, police said.
Authorities stepped down from their hijack alert status approximately 40 minutes after flight TK1618 landed without incident, according to the Kurier newspaper.