SA Airlink has debunked a report that an SA Airlink flight was hijacked on Monday. According to the report, one of SA Airlink’s planes was hijacked en route Wonderboom airport from Cape Town on Monday morning.
The airline rather stated that an Avro RJ, operating as flight SA8678 emitted an anomalous hi-jack alert through its transponder. It described the hijack alert as “an anomaly”.
SA Airlink confirmed:
“All the 72 passengers and 4 crew members aboard SA8678 are safe. We have been in contact with our pilots & can confirm that no hijacking has taken place.”
The incident happened when the flight – which also shares code under South African Airways – began to squawk 7500, which is the internationally recognized code for a hijacking.
Uneasiness At SA Airlink
A passenger at the airline however disclosed that they had been stuck in the plane for two hours after they had been told earlier to vacate the plane without their belongings.
The passenger said:
“We are still on the runway. People are waiting for us outside. They gave us a briefing to tell us it was a technical error. It’s been 2 hours and I’m getting worried. I can hear police sirens outside.”
The Special Task Force of the South African Police Service responded to the airport thereafter. They also took precautions and held the aircraft on the Wonderboom Airport runway while they verified passengers’ safety.
The airport building was evacuated as a precautionary measure, with the airline having also launched an internal investigation into the erroneous transmission.
Meanwhile, an update on the story indicates that the flight, which is operated by an RJ85 aircraft, has landed safely at Wonderboom Airport near Pretoria.
SA Airlink Ltd. is a private airline based in Johannesburg. The airline is South Africa’s first feeder network, aimed at linking the smaller towns, regional centers and hubs throughout the country.