A flight departing from Tel Aviv was delayed and nine passengers arrested after numerous passengers on the plane received unsolicited airplane crash photos via Apple’s AirDrop feature, sparking panic onboard.
AirDrop Used To Send Crash Photos, Create Panic On 737-800 Flight From Israel
It was only three days ago that Kyle covered the potential hazards of using AirDrop to send pornography to unsuspecting passengers. AirDrop is a service in Apple iOS and macOS operating systems which can transfer files among supported Macintosh computers and iOS devices by means of close-range wireless communication. Here, we see another potential hazard to Apple’s AirDrop tool: the ability to instill fear to the point that a flight is delayed.
It isn’t clear if this was a practical joke or something more sinister, but the incident occurred onboard an AnadoluJet 737-800 bound for Istanbul (SAW). AnadoluJet is a subsidiary of Turkish Airlines and operated under TK7709. Just prior to takeoff at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport (TLV), passengers onboard began to receive images via AirDrop. Those included:
- 2009 crash of Turkish Airlines flight 1951, which crash landed at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, killing nine
- 2013 crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214, which crash landed at San Francisco International Airport, killing three
Both pictures were accompanied by footage from inside the plane. Passengers notified flight attendants, who notified the captain. The decision was made to return to the gate. One woman allegedly fainted.
Nine suspects were identified onboard, removed, questioned, and now face potential charges for disseminating false information, which carries a prison term of up to three years. All were Israelis from the Galilee region. After the initial delay, the aircraft took off for Istanbul, arriving over five hours late, but safely.
AirDrop has been with us for years and is an immensely helpful tool when used properly. But as the product matures, some with less scruples are seeing both commercial opportunity (as Kyle outlined) and the ability to prank unsuspecting passengers, as we saw here.
image: Radio Nederland Wereldomroep