No pressure on Ryanair crew from Belarus' air traffic control

25 Мая’21

Belarus' air traffic control did not pressure the crew of the Ryanair flight into an emergency landing at the Minsk National Airport, BelTA learned from Director of the Aviation Department of the Belarusian Transport and Communications Ministry Artyom Sikorsky.

The official said: “I would like to emphasize that according to the transcript of communication between the air traffic control and the crew, Belarusian air traffic controllers did not pressure the Ryanair crew into making the decision. The crew made the decision on its own. The crew received all the necessary priority aid.”

In his words, Belarusian air traffic controllers acted in compliance with international obligations.

BelTA reported earlier that an aircraft of the air carrier Ryanair was flying over Belarus on the way from Athens to Vilnius on 23 May. The aircraft sent a distress signal. The airport received the signal at 12:50. The FR4978 flight squawked code 7700 – it is the main emergency code, which signifies an emergency situation on board. A message about a bomb on board the aircraft was the reason for the distress call.

The pilot-in-command decided to divert the aircraft to the Minsk National Airport where the aircraft landed at 13:15. Emergency response teams of the airport, ambulances, aviation security personnel, and K9 specialists had already been waiting for the aircraft at the parking apron. Prompt investigation measures were taken. Additional units of the Emergencies Ministry arrived. Representatives of law enforcement agencies worked on site.

There were 123 passengers on board. All of them went through an additional aviation security check and were delivered to the airport's transit lounge for investigation measures. The luggage was also removed from the aircraft and submitted to an additional security check. The tip about the bomb on board the aircraft proved false. The aircraft left the Minsk National Airport for Vilnius at 20:48.

The Investigative Committee branch of Minsk's Oktyabrsky District has opened a criminal case into a knowingly false report about danger in line with part 1, Article 340 of the Criminal Code.

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