12 Passengers arrested after Northwest Airlines disturbance
THE HAGUE – Twelve passengers on a Northwest Airlines flight that returned to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport after the pilot raised an alert over worrying behavior have been arrested, airport police said.
“Twelve passengers were arrested. We cannot give more details,” spokesman Rob Stenacker told.
The arrests were carried out “after questioning and in accordance with information provided by the crew”, he said.
Haarlem court, whose jurisdiction includes Schiphol airport, was unavailable for comment on what basis the 12 had been arrested.
The Boeing DC 10-30 was flying from the Dutch capital to Mumbai, India, with 149 passengers on board when suspicious behavior prompted the pilot to return to Amsterdam.
The US news channel CNN quoted an unnamed US official as saying a team of US federal air marshals was on board the flight and, along with the crew, observed what they considered suspicious activity shortly after takeoff.
There was no confirmation of the report.
Dean Breest, a spokesman for Northwest, told when asked about the presence of air marshals: “It’s a good question, but regarding acknowledging, we are not in a position to do that.”
“It becomes a police matter at this point” for the Dutch authorities, Breest said. “It’s in their hands at this point.”
Dutch police refused to confirm the information but simply said that the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism had been “kept informed of the situation constantly”.
The plane, which was flying over northwestern Germany at the time, was escorted back to Amsterdam by two Dutch air force fighter jets as soon as it entered Dutch air space.
The pilot emptied the jet’s fuel tanks over the North Sea as a precaution prior to landing.
“Flight 42 from Amsterdam to Mumbai with 149 passengers returned back to Amsterdam when a couple of passengers displayed behavior of concern,” Northwest Airlines said in a statement released in the United States.