Spain investigates 21 who fled plane after emergency landing

PALMA, Balearic Islands (AP) — Spanish authorities on Saturday were investigating the unauthorized disembarkment of 21 people from a plane that made an emergency medical landing on the island of Mallorca.

The incident under investigation occurred late Friday when an Air Arabia flight from Casablanca to Istanbul made an emergency landing to attend a passenger. On landing, 21 people forced their way off the plane, prompting security officials to temporarily close the airport.

A government official on the Balearic Islands, Aina Calvo, said 12 people had been detained by police and were in custody. Those included nine who illegally left the plane, the person who was said to be sick, the person’s companion, and a person who was arrested for fighting with an official on the plane.

Police are still looking for 12 more on the loose.

Investigators are considering the hypothesis that the passenger who provoked the emergency landing was not actually ill.

“All fronts (for the investigation) are open at this moment and there is no information that allow us to affirm that it is act of unauthorized immigration carried out in a plot,” Calvo said. “What is unprecedented is that a person feels sick and ... 21 people jump onto the airstrip and start running around, because that puts air traffic in jeopardy.”