Spanish police have arrested 12 people who were part of a group of 21 passengers that fled a plane after it was forced to make an emergency landing in Majorca.
An Air Arabia flight from Casablanca, Morocco, to Istanbul in Turkey, was re-routed to Palma after a passenger fell ill while on board.
According to the EFE news agency, a passenger “faked” a diabetic coma in order to facilitate the escape of 21 other people who ran across the airport tarmac and fled into the Majorcan countryside.
After a health check at a hospital found him to be fit and well, the man was discharged and arrested for illegally entering the country, while a fellow passenger who accompanied him to the hospital reportedly disappeared.
Clips shows several passengers fleeing the flight after the plane landed.
As a result, Palma’s airport was briefly closed down and 13 flights were rerouted, with a total of 60 flights being delayed, before things returned to normal at 11pm local time on the same day.
The government’s delegate in the Balearics, Aina Calvo, said the event was unprecedented for a Spanish airport.
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She said: "It's usual that we receive these kind of requests for emergency landings, when a passenger is sick and the captain decides it's important to land.
“What is not usual and is unheard of, is that we see 21 people running on the airport's tarmac.”
The Balearics’ president, Francina Armengol, tweeted: “What happened cannot repeat itself and it's necessary that the responsible authorities review their protocols to guarantee the safety of all.”
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Daniel Zamit, a spokesperson for USCA, the Spanish Air Traffic Controllers Union, called the incident a "grave breach of security" and said the protocols in place would be reviewed.
Nine passengers are still believed to be on the run.
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