Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat – A woman was killed and others injured as passengers of a Saudi plane scrambled to leave the aircraft bound to Riyadh , after a bomb alert.
Officials at Saudi Arabian Airlines said the captain received an alert at 10am Tuesday morning claiming a bomb had been planted on board the place, a Boeing 747, which was on the runway awaiting clearance to take off. “The captain reacted immediately and followed emergency procedures. He evacuated the place to ensure the safety of all 424 passengers and 19 crew members”, the official added. The relevant airport authorities were also contacted and requested the plane move to a specially designed isolation area away from other aircrafts.
“Wanting to evacuate the plane as quickly as possible, the captain gave orders to deploy the emergency slides,” the source added. The source indicated that, “All passengers were evacuated with the exception of one woman who was injured and died in the ambulance on her way to hospital.” Others were lightly wounded due in their rush to leave the plane. “Passengers were accommodated to a hotel near the airport and were scheduled to fly to the Saudi capital on an alternative flight on Thursday afternoon”, the source said.
The national Saudi airline has seen a string of false alarms in the past few years. The first occurred on 8th October 2001 when a plane bound to London from Jeddah made an emergency landing after a suspect package was found on board. On 18th July 2002 , a scheduled flight from Riyadh to the Sri Lankan capital carrying 249 passengers was forced to land in Bombay after a false bomb alert. A year later, on 20th September 2003, a aircraft carrying 376 from Cairo to the Saudi capital was also evacuated after a hoax bomb threat.