Disturbing photos prompt panic on plane — Analysis

A Tel Aviv to Istanbul flight was rerouted after passengers saw images from airline accidents on their phones.

On Tuesday nine Israeli teenagers were detained after they posted photos of crashes on social media and caused panic among passengers. Many people saw distressing photos from airline accidents as AnadoluJet prepared to take off. The crew decided that they would call the police.

The Boeing 737 operated by the Turkish Airlines subsidiary was cleared to depart the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv with some 160 people on board, when multiple passengers received a curious request through their iPhones’ airdrop feature. The photos included images of an Amsterdam 2009 Turkish Airlines accident and the San Francisco 2013 crash of the Asiana Airlines flight.

“We got on the flight and the plane started moving. AirDrop asked for photo confirmations from most passengers. Some approved, some did not,”One passenger spoke to Kan, an Israeli broadcaster.

“The plane stopped, and the attendants asked who got the photos. We were instructed to leave after a while. The police showed up and we discovered that there was an issue. The airport authorities told us there was a security incident, and they took all our luggage off the plan for a secondary inspection,”The witness was added.

“One woman fainted, another had a panic attack,” another passenger, identified only as Diana, told Israel’s Channel 12.

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Although initially authorities feared terrorist attacks or cyber-terrorism, they soon realized that images had been sent from the inside of the aircraft. Nine Israeli nationals, aged between 18 and 18, were arrested on the plane. The suspects are all believed to be from Galilee in northern Israel.

“I am sure the police and the security authorities will find out why they did it,”Oren Lefler, spokesperson for the Airport Authority, spoke to Channel 12. 

After a delay of several hours, the 737 departed and safely landed at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport, minus the nine miscreants. As the photos show, they could face charges for spreading false information which caused panic and fear. “could be interpreted as constituting a threat to carry out an attack,”According to the police, They could spend up to three years in prison if convicted.

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