Faik Kaptan / Istanbul, July 21 () - A male crew member of Turkish Airlines (THY) has been detained for a bomb hoax on a plane flying from Istanbul to Basel in April.
The unidentified male crew member was detained two months ago and was sent to the anti-terror police department, according to police sources. THY officials said in a statement on July 19 that the company fired a crew member for “being responsible for a bomb hoax found in the closet of a plane.”
On April 17, a THY plane heading to Basel was diverted as an emergency measure in the third bomb scare on a THY flight in less than a month at the time.
A note found in the plane’s toilet, warning about a “bomb,” turned out to be a hoax. A fingerprint was found on the note and an investigation revealed that the fingerprint belonged to a male crew member from the same flight. THY officials said a legal complaint was issued against the person while his contract was also summarily terminated.
The plane, THY flight TK1923 with 151 people on board, changed its route and returned while in Bulgarian airspace to Istanbul Atatürk Airport. Turkish Airlines says it is standard procedure to make emergency landings under such circumstances.
The incident was yet another in a series of bomb scares on recent THY flights. In March and April, THY’s Istanbul-Tokyo, Istanbul-Sao Paolo and Istanbul-Lisbon flights were all diverted due to bomb hoaxes, in addition to the Istanbul-Basel flight.
On March 29, the plane bound for Tokyo returned to Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport, after a message “C-4 Cargo” was discovered by the cabin crew in the lavatory.
On March 30, the THY plane traveling from Istanbul to Sao Paulo made an emergency landing in Casablanca. A search of the Boeing 777-300ER plane bound for Brazil determined that the threat was a hoax, allowing the plane to subsequently continue on its route, the company added.
Similarly, the THY plane flying from Istanbul to Portugal returned to Atatürk Airport on April 1 after a bomb threat, which later turned out to be another hoax.
A passenger on a THY plane flying to the Turkmenistan capital Ashgabat from Istanbul had caused panic in mid-November 2014 after shouting that he had a bomb attached to his body, showing a lump concealed under his clothes that later turned out to be a liquor bottle.