SACAA: SA ready to deal with aviation threats

2016-07-11 17:45 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - News that Airlink flight S8678 from Cape Town to Wonderboom, Pretoria had been hijacked spread across social media like wildfire on Monday afternoon, but it soon turned out to be a false alarm. 

The SACAA confirmed it had been notified of a false hi-jack alert, reportedly set-off 10 minutes before the flight was set to land at Wonderboom.

The false hi-jack alert, which lasted a few seconds, activated the mandatory hijack response procedures and when the aircraft landed at Wonderboom Airport, the police’s hijack response team conducted the necessary checks to confirm that there was indeed no hijacking, says the SACAA.

The aviation authority says that it is satisfied that despite this being a false alarm, the stipulated procedures for dealing with a similar incident were correctly followed.

"This demonstrates the state of readiness of the various South African civil aviation and other State agencies when faced with a potential threat. The SACAA thus commend all officials who immediately activated their emergency procedures upon learning of the alert,” says SACAA head Phindiwe Gwebu. 

There were 72 passengers and four crew members on board, with some sharing their accounts of having to leave the plane with their hands on their heads and being instructed to leave all personal belongs behind, as police escorted them off the plane - read news24's report here. Operations at Cape Town International were unaffected by the incident. 

Earlier in June, the US issued a terror alert for South African, saying SA had been identified as a possible terrorist target and warned of a  "terror attacks by Islamic militants on Americans in South Africa".   

As a result two of the biggest malls in SA confirmed increased security measures and the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) at the time also noted the alleged terrorist threats, saying the necessary global standards are in place and it "will continue to monitor the situation". 

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