Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Hoax bomb call throws Indira Gandhi Int'l airport into a tizzy

Security agencies at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) were thrown in to a tizzy on Sunday when a woman called at the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) call centre and said the airport will be blown up. Not willing to take any chances, the call centre employees immediately informed the police, who further informed the other agencies concerned.

Hours of search and sanitisation exercises, however, unearthed nothing and the call was finally declared a hoax.

According to a senior officer, the call was received at 6.46 pm. The caller, a woman, said, "There's a bomb inside the airport." Then at 7.22 pm, another call was received. The caller said, "IGIA mein bomb blast hoga, sun lijiyega. Abhi aa rahe hain bomb le kar (There'll be a blast at IGIA, pay heed... Are now coming with the bombs)."

As soon as the cops were informed, other security agencies were roped in and a Bomb Threat Assessment Committee (BTAC) was formed at the Airport Operations Control Centre.

"The message was immediately conveyed to the IGIA police station and security agencies were roped in to sanitise the premises. Within minutes, exits and entrances to the airport were converted into checkpoints and every single vehicle entering or exiting the airport had to undergo a thorough check. All areas in and around the airport, including parking, taxi bays, Metro station, passenger waiting lounge, and check-in area were scanned by bomb detection teams and dog squads. Toilets and waste bins at the airport were also checked to ensure safety," a senior CISF officer said.

A senior airport official said, "T3 alone measures about 5.4 million sq feet. As domestic terminals also had to be scanned, it took even more time. The caller did not specify the area or the terminal and security agencies could not take any chance with the public safety. Full cooperation was extended from the airport officials and flight operations were not affected. "

The officer added that the BTAC declared the call as "non-specific" around 8 pm. The IGIA Police then registered a case under Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation, and are looking into the matter.
09/05/17 Anvit Srivastava/DNA