Twelve arrested after fleeing an emergency plane landing in Mallorca

Police in Spain arrested 12 people and were searching for 12 more after a group of passengers fled a plane onto the Palma de Mallorca airport runway on Friday night, causing the airport to close for several hours.

The Air Arabia Maroc flight from Casablanca to Istanbul made an emergency landing at Palma de Mallorca airport after reports of a sick passenger, the Civil Guard said.

When the doors opened around 8:30 p.m., a group of 21 passengers ran out of the plane, the regional government reported on Saturday. The events were “unprecedented” in Spain, regional government spokeswoman Aina Calvo told reporters.

Among the 12 detainees was the sick passenger, who was taken to the hospital with a companion and was given the go-ahead. The partner then tried to flee the hospital and was also arrested. Another passenger had been arrested for aggressive behavior on board the plane.

Calvo said that while it was not uncommon for emergency landings to be requested at Palma airport, “what was not normal is that a group of passengers decided not to comply with international standards.”

A man goes to the security area at Terminal 1 of the Barcelona-El Prat airport in Barcelona, ​​Spain, on June 13, 2017 (credit: REUTERS / ALBERT GEA)

Police are trying to establish why the passengers fled and whether it was an orchestrated plan or an isolated incident, he said. None of the detainees have tried to apply for asylum in Spain.

“They are people who have arrived, not by sea, but illegally and therefore at least … they will be returned to their country of origin,” Calvo added.

Several Spanish media, including El País and the national broadcaster RTVE, suggested that the incident was an attempt to enter Spain illegally, but this has not been confirmed.

The airport operator Aena was forced to close the airport for more than three hours and the flights to land there were diverted to other airports, including Barcelona, ​​Ibiza and Menorca.

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