Mallorca: airport chaos due to a long-planned escape attempt?

Status: 08.11.2021 1:12 p.m.

An unscheduled landing paralyzed Mallorca airport for several hours on Friday. The evidence that the incident was a long-planned escape attempt by migrants is now hardening.

By Oliver Neuroth, ARD Studio Madrid

Friday, 6:50 p.m .: An Air Arabia Maroc Airbus on its way from Casablanca to Istanbul lands at Palma Airport due to a medical emergency. A diabetic on board lost consciousness. The machine is parked on the tarmac, an ambulance arrives. The paramedics take care of the man and finally take him to the hospital.

Oliver Neuroth
ARD-Studio Madrid

The aircraft cannot take off again immediately, it has to be refueled and formalities have to be clarified. That is how long the cabin door remains open. Shortly after 8 p.m., 21 passengers jump up, run over the flight attendants and storm out of the plane.

“Nobody knew what was going on”

A passenger records the scene with his smartphone. The video shows how the men run across the runways and disappear into the darkness. Armando Ramonis is sitting in the departure area of ​​the terminal at this moment.

He wants to fly to Madrid and suddenly sees only blue lights on the runway. “Nobody knew what was going on. We thought that maybe a plane was damaged or had crashed. Then some people read on Twitter what happened and the mood turned. People around me got nervous, thought of a possible Attack.” There were also many Germans in the machine. It is the end of the holidays in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Thuringia.

Flights had to be rerouted

The airport ceases operations for almost four hours. Incoming flights will be diverted to Ibiza, Menorca and Barcelona. Finally it turns out that the allegedly ill passenger was not sick at all and only acted out his diabetic shock – possibly to force the plane to land and to enable the other passengers to escape.

Aina Calvo, the representative of the Spanish government in the Balearic Islands, said at the weekend: “Passengers have defied the internationally applicable rules here. The investigations are ongoing. It is already clear that this incident is unprecedented in our country.”

Consultation in the online community?

There are increasing indications that the action could have been planned in great detail. According to the Spanish news agency EFE, the trail leads to an online community called “Brooklyn”. Thousands of young Moroccans belong to it. An entry from July describes exactly what has now happened in Palma. There it says:

We need 40 volunteers. All people from Brooklyn book a flight to Turkey via Spain.

A passenger would then have to pretend he was sick, the plane landed unscheduled and the others entered the country illegally. This plan is also said to have been published on Facebook.

Nine people went into hiding

The escape of the 21 Moroccans in Palma was apparently also possible because the ambulance was not accompanied by the police to the parked aircraft. The airport’s security protocols do not yet provide for this in such a case. Spanish media also report that there were problems with coordination between different police authorities on Friday. The protocols would now be changed.

The police have now caught twelve of the refugee passengers from the plane on Mallorca. Nine apparently went underground on the island.

Airport chaos in Mallorca because of a long-planned escape attempt by migrants?

Oliver Neuroth, ARD Madrid, November 8th, 2021 12:55 p.m.

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