MADRID (AFP) – The Palma de Mallorca airport was closed for nearly four hours yesterday when tens of passengers ran off after their plane made an emergency landing.
According to airport authorities, a flight between Morocco and Turkey was diverted to Palma de Mallorca airport due to an alleged medical emergency.
During the evacuation of the passenger alleging to be ill, around 20 passengers took to their heels. The Guardia Civil told AFP two people were arrested.
Illness was a ruse
Investigators were working on the theory the medical incident was staged. This provided the opportunity for others to flee and enter Spain illegally, El Pais reported.
When an ambulance arrived to take the passenger to the hospital, around 20 passengers fled the plane and ran onto the tarmac. The passenger behind the scam was reported to have fallen unconscious due to diabetes.
The ‘sick’ passenger was taken to hospital. He was declared to be in perfect health and arrested for “assisting in illegal immigration”. Another passenger that accompanied him to the hospital has since disappeared.
A further five people were arrested in addition to the faker.
Air Arabia Maroc flight
According to aircraft tracker FlightRadar24, the diverted plane was an Air Arabia Maroc Airbus A320 on a flight between Casablanca and Istanbul.
Spain is one of the Mediterranean countries that bears the brunt of illegal migration from Africa and the Middle East.
As a result of the incident, 13 planes bound for Palma were rerouted. Sixteen departing flights had significant delays. The airport reopened around midnight on Friday night.