Airline says Dutch plane alert was false alarm

National/World

Dutch police mill about after a threat at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. Dutch military police say that all passengers and crew are safely off a plane at the center of a security alert at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The military police service earlier said they were responding to a suspicious situation at the airport on the outskirts of Amsterdam. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

SCHIPHOL, Netherlands (AP) — A hijack warning was accidentally set off on a plane at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Wednesday night, triggering a massive security alert, a Spanish airline said.

Air Europa said in a tweet that the scare that sent emergency services rushing to the airport was a false alarm.

A warning that triggers hijack protocols at airports “was activated, by mistake” on a plane that was bound toward Madrid, the carrier tweeted. It did not say who activated the warning or how.

“Nothing has happened, all passengers are safe and sound waiting to fly soon. We deeply apologize,” the carrier said.

The military police service earlier said it was responding to a suspicious situation at the airport on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Dutch media reported that emergency services including heavily armed arrest teams were deployed to the airport.

“The situation is now safe,” airport spokesman Dennis Muller told The Associated Press. “All flights can now depart.”

Dutch Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus said in a tweet that he was impressed by the “sharp and alert response of authorities and services, both local and national.”

By late evening, an AP photographer at the airport’s main entrance said the situation appeared calm, with military police and civilian police officers visible inside the building. Cars picking up and dropping off passengers continued to arrive as normal.

Many departing flights were delayed, but the airport said in a statement that “regular operation” had resumed.

The alert in the Netherlands came as Milan’s Malpensa Airport was briefly closed while police investigated a suspicious item in someone’s luggage that turned out to be a harmless computer part. Flights were taking off and landing normally during that time.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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