In a story right out of a movie script, a group of migrants staged an elaborate hoax on a flight to Istanbul deliberately intended to engineer a diversion to Spain and chance for freedom.
Woman Fakes Onboard Birth On Istanbul Flight In Order To Cause Diversion To Spain Daring Escape By 28 Migrants
The conspiracy involved 28 migrants onboard Pegasus Airlines flight PC652, which flew from Casablanca (CMN) to Istanbul (SAW) on Wednesday.
Just an hour into the flight, a woman onboard screamed out in pain and claimed that she was going into labor. Pilots made the decision to divert to Barcelona’s El Prat Airport (BCN)…exactly according to plan.
The plane landed at 4:00 am, medics boarded, and a group of 28 passengers, all thought to be illegal migrants, used that moment of confusion to flee.
14 migrants were stopped before they had left the tarmac. Six agreed to re-board while eight refused and now face formal deportation (their asylum bid will be heard first, though). The other 14 have been identified.
228 passengers were onboard when the plane took off from Casablanca while only 201 remained onboard by the time the plane took off again a few hours later.
These incidents are rare, but not unique. A similar incident occurred on a Casablanca – Istanbul flight in Palma Airport in Majorca last November (there, a Moroccan man faked going into a diabetic coma).
It’s always sad when one feels so little hope that such a daring escape is seen as necessary. Wishing for a better life in Spain is perfectly understandable, but engineering a costly diversion is not the right approach. A flight ban for every passenger involved should reduce the chances of a repeat incident…at least with them.
image: Myroslav Kaplun