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Plane Hijacked in India

Aired October 3, 2001 - 16:11   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news out of India and that is Reuters News Service reporting an airplane was hijacked. A passenger plane belonging to the Alliance Air, airlines, which we are told is a state-run airline in India, a Boeing 737 en route from Bombay to New Delhi evidently was hijacked shortly after taking off from Bombay.

We have very little information about it other than what Reuters is reporting. The are quoting an official at air-traffic control, at the New Delhi airport saying there was hijacking and saying they are checking on these reports -- I'm sorry, what am I being told -- joining us now on the telephone CNN's New Delhi bureau chief Satinder Bindra. Satinder, what have you learned?

SATINDER BINDRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, this is what we know, and this has been given to us by sources at Indian Airlines. They are saying that one of their planes, belonging to smaller feeder airline, called Alliance Air, en route from Mumbai to Delhi was hijacked.

They say the plane is now in Deli. The plane has been taken to a separate enclosure. There are 54 passengers, Judy, this is what we know for the moment. There are 54 passengers on board the plane. All the passengers are reportedly safe. We have just heard that the pilot of the plane has asked for two engineers to come on board. We don't have any other details at the moment.

What I can report is that over the past three, four days, Indian airports all across the country have been on alert because a militant group fighting for independence on the Indian side of Kashmir, Shi Shei (ph) Mohammed has reportedly issued warnings that it could strike at airports.

So, just to repeat, we now have sources inside Indian airlines telling us that a plane enroute from Mumbai to Delhi has been hijacked, but all the passengers are safe -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Satinder, just to be very clear, the plane has now landed in Delhi, is that what you said?

BINDRA: That is what we are being told, that the plane has just landed. It has been taken to a separate enclosure, and the pilot of the plane has asked for two engineers to come onboard. It is not clear why these engineers have been asked to come onboard. It is still unclear if they are looking for fuel, if the plane will take off again from Dehli or is it going to stay there.

These details are still coming out, Judy, we are still not sure about them.

WOODRUFF: And Satinder Bindra talking to us on the telephone, he is the bureau chief in New Delhi. Satinder, a question about this militant group involved in the dispute over Kashmir. What about the threats they allegedly been making?

BINDRA: Well, their threats are being taken very seriously here, Judy. If you recall, just two days ago there was a bombing on the Indian side of Kashmir. The bombing was directed at the provincial legislature there. More than 40 people were killed, some 70 people were injured.

The bombing was set off by a suicide bomber who drove an explosive laden car right into the gates of the provincial legislature. Just about that time, word got out to the media that a group which claimed responsibility for this bombing against the provincial legislature had also been warning that it would target Indian airports.

So Indian airports were put on alert and the atmosphere since then has been quite tense here in New Delhi. Now there's word that an Indian Airlines plane has been hijacked. so far no details, Judy. Who is responsible, we do not know that as of yet -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Satinder Bindra from New Delhi, our New Delhi bureau chief. And just quickly recapping, a Boeing 737 passenger plane in India evidently hijacked on a flight to New Delhi. We are told it is on the ground in New Delhi. And we are also told the passengers are safe, 54 of them. Beyond that we have very little information. As soon as we do, we will certainly bring it to you right away.

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