Shocking Case of AN124

Ukrainian-make AN 124 cargo

Ukrainian-make AN 124 cargo

Mumbai: The detained Ukrainian-make AN 124 cargo carrier chartered by the United States military, which was forced to land at Mumbai airport late Friday night for illegally intruding into Indian air-space finally took off tonight after representatives of Central Intelligence agencies questioned its crew members thoroughly about its mission and the cargo it was transporting from Diego Garcia to Kandahar in Afghanistan.
The aircraft was detected breaching Indian airspace around 8 in the evening and was forced to land at 10;35 p.m. Indian Air Force aircraft were not scrambled in response to the air-space violation, but the IAF did ask the Mumbai ATC to make it land. The flight, whose Nato code is Condor, was found to be carrying heavy military vehicles, anti-aircraft guns and other military equipment for US-led Nato forces fighting the Taliban in beleaguered Afghanistan.
The captain of the aircraft had apparently fumbled in giving the proper call sign, which led to the force-landing. The plane had been flying over the Arabian Sea regularly and had often violated Indian air-space. This was the first occasion when it was asked to land for verification of cargo and the nature of its mission.
The drama started late last night when Mumbai ATC detected the intruder, and apparently under instructions from the Air Force, directed it to land at Mumbai. The aircraft was taken to the isolation bay where Intelligence agents started questioning the 18-member crew on the plane. The crew was quizzed on how many such sorties they had flown from Diego Garcia to Afghanistan and why they did not obtain the proper authorization for crossing Indian air-space. The USA has been hiring these cargo carriers to transport military equipment from its Indian Ocean base at Diego Garcia to Afghanistan. The detained aircraft was finally given Air Operations Routing permission today.


~ by anand213 on June 22, 2009.

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