Air scare: Was it a false alarm?

  • 28 Apr 2007 03:36:17 GMT

    Pepole close to katu area ran away from their homes when all happened that night.BIA staff too ran.created More panic. Same way the tamils hide when they hear the noice of SL airfore jets.

    Anurathapura MI24 belived to be crashed may be was shot by tigers or mistakenly shot by SL Forces. anyway the parts been taken by SL forces.

  • 28 Apr 2007 04:11:00 GMT

    What about the reports of a fireball crashing in Negombo lagoon?

  • 28 Apr 2007 04:13:24 GMT

    [Fear and pandemonium at BIA amid gunfire

    By Gihan de Chickera

    Chaos and confusion broke out at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Thursday night as panic stricken passengers reacted fearfully to the sound of explosions and gunfire by the military apparently responding to reports of unidentified aircraft approaching the Katunayake Air Force base.

    Eye witness accounts of the melee that ensued at the departure terminal said men, women and children including the elderly, fearing an LTTE attack following the explosions, stampeded from their respective embarkation gates towards the check-in area seeking cover.

    ?Thinking it was the sound of thunder the waiting passengers didn?t react much to the first two explosions. But with the frequency of the explosions including the sound of gunfire increasing in rapidity, the passengers began to panic and rush towards the check-in area,? one passenger said.

    While most passengers managed to gather their hand luggage and run, a few lost their bags during the commotion.

    ?The explosions started at about 10.45 pm. The airport security shouted at us to run, saying there was an attack taking place,? another passenger said.

    While airport security stationed at the fringes of the departure terminal asked people to take cover, security staff at the check-in area urged the panic stricken passengers to calm down and gather into a group.

    At least one airport security officer was seen locking himself up in a room, refusing to come out until the situation had calmed down.

    Reports said a sense of calm prevailed after passengers took cover under tables and chairs in the check-in area, when more gunfire was heard and someone yelled that a gun battle had erupted at close quarters, sparking a second wave of panic.

    Mobile phone lines were jammed as passengers inside the airport tried hard to contact their friends and relatives outside, as news of the episode spread.

    Although the government cut power outside the airport and in Colombo as a precautionary security measure the lights inside the terminal were not switched off.

    ?If the lights inside the building were switched off then there would have been more chaos,? a passenger said.

    Witnesses said the situation returned to normal in about half-an-hour and announcements were made over the airport PA system asking passengers to return to their respective embarkation gates.

    However the Emirates flight to Dubai was cancelled and the Cathay Pacific flight to Singapore was delayed by 1 hours while stranded passengers were given lodgings at the Airport Garden Hotel.

    Passengers flying into Colombo said announcements were made on their flights that detours may occur, due to security concerns at the Bandaranaike Airport.

    An Emirates flight arriving from Dubai was grounded at its transit stop in Male, while a Singapore Airlines flight from Malaysia was one of the first to land in Colombo after the incident, at the scheduled time of 12.15 am.

    Passengers on this flight said the situation at the Airport was normal when they arrived, although the arrival terminal was clogged by vehicles which had been prevented from entering the airport during the incident.

    Many passengers, who missed their pick-up vehicles, took taxis back home or hitched rides with fellow passengers.