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News

Dutch security forces surround plane in false hijack scare

Police have boarded and searched an aircraft at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, after it landed in a suspected hijack situation. It was later confirmed that a case of miscommunication was to blame.

Dutch police confirmed that the plane had not been hijacked, backing up an airline statement that there had been a communication problem between the pilot and the control tower.

The Vueling plane, with an estimated 180 passengers on board, was on its way to Schiphol from Malaga.

An official of the Royal Dutch Military Police had earlier on Wednesday afternoon said that the aircraft had landed and that the police had surrounded the plane to deal with the possible hijack.  "We are trying to make contact with the people in the plane," the news agency AFP reported the spokesman as saying.

All passengers remained on board, the official added.

However, a spokesperson for the Spanish airline Vueling swiftly attributed the security scare to miscommunication.

A passenger was reported to have told Dutch radio station NOS by phone that she was surprised by what was going on.

Initial media reports in the Dutch media said that the country's Defense Ministry had scrambled a pair of F-16 fighter planes to intercept and accompany the passenger plane thought to be carrying hostages.

The reports were initially confirmed by the Dutch national counter-terrorism coordinator who said there was "no contact with the pilot."

It was not the first unexpected event of the day at Schiphol. Earlier on Wednesday, authorities had evacuated parts of the airport after workers were reported to have found an unexploded World War Two bomb.

rc/msh (AFP, da, Reuters)