At least 27 passengers attempted to escape into Spain after a pregnant woman allegedly pretended to go into labor and forced a Turkey-bound plane to make an emergency landing in Barcelona.
The flight carrying 228 passengers took off from Casablanca in Morocco and was on its way to Istanbul when the incident took place, CBS News.
Spanish police are now on the hunt for around 14 of those passengers who fled after the Pegasus Airlines flight landed at a Barcelona airport on Wednesday.
The pregnant passenger reportedly claimed she was going into labor, prompting the aircraft to make an emergency landing at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport. An ambulance and three police patrols were waiting for the pregnant woman to disembark.
Around 28 passengers left the plane without authorization and tried to escape, officials said, according to Euronews.
“As they were disembarking the pregnant woman, a group of 28 people left the plane and tried to flee,” a source told the AFP news agency, as quoted by DW.
The police stopped about 13 of them while the remaining managed to evade cops at the airport. Five of the nabbed passengers reportedly agreed to reboard the Pegasus flight and continue on their way to Istanbul.
Officials said the remaining passengers that were caught are being processed for non-admission to Spain. They are expected to be placed on another flight from the country and taken to Morocco, officials added.
The nationalities of the passengers were not immediately released by the Spanish government. Spanish police are on the lookout for around 14 passengers that still remain at large in the country without the necessary authorization.
The passenger who faked labor and caused the emergency landing was taken to the hospital. Doctors confirmed that she was pregnant but not in labor.
The woman was arrested and detained on charges of public disorder. She is also part of the group of passengers that are due for deportation.
A similar incident took place last year on the same route. Passengers traveling from Casablanca to Istanbul fled an airplane after it made an emergency at the Palma airport on the Spanish island of Mallorca. The emergency landing was triggered by a passenger, who claimed they needed emergency medical attention due to an alleged diabetic coma.