Pilot wrongly reports hijacking

A pilot on JetBlue flight 1623 accidentally told air traffic control that his plane was being hijacked and the response was simply staggering.

Sitting on the tarmac at New York’s JFK airport, the pilot tried to inform the tower that the plane’s radio wasn’t working, which is done by the pilot inputting a certain code or number into a communication keypad.

Only he input the wrong keys – ones that signalled his plane was being hijacked.

“Shortly before departure, flight 1623 from New York JFK to Los Angeles experienced a radio issue impacting the crew’s ability to communicate and a false alarm was sent to JFK tower,” said JetBlue spokeswoman Paula Acevedo.

Because airport security could not get verbal confirmation, they assumed the worst and reacted accordingly, or overwhelmingly, with law enforcement, emergency services, fire and medical staff swarming the plane.


“That brought everyone and their mother out to the tarmac,” said one law enforcement source.

“Most people (cops and firefighters on the scene) have never responded to a hijacking, other than in training.”

The aircraft was inspected and cleared with no security threat but caused delays in landings and departures thereafter.

Most of the 158 people on board had no idea what all the commotion was about but may have feared the worst when they looked out their windows.

Passenger Tony Schwartz tweeted: “I am on a JetBlue flight at JFK that lost its communications. Created a security crisis. 10 heavily armed cops boarded plane and just left. After 1.5 hours on runway being towed back to gate. Wow.”

Read more at New York Post


Have you ever had a weird travel experience such as this? Why not share it with us? Send it to [email protected] or post it in the comments below.

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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