False alarm triggers police response at Amsterdam airport

The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee said it was investigating a security incident on an aircraft, but the airline later apologized for a false alarm.

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By Doha Madani

A brief panic occurred at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on Wednesday after a false alarm caused authorities to believe there was a possible hijacking situation.

The Royal Marechaussee, the national police force of the Netherlands, said it was investigating a "suspicious situation" on an aircraft at about 7:30 p.m. local time. About an hour later both the police and the airport confirmed that passengers and crew members were safely removed from the aircraft.

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Air Europa tweeted shortly after to explain that the a warning that activates hijacking protocols was accidentally triggered on a flight from Amsterdam to Madrid.

"Nothing has happened, all passengers are safe and sound waiting to fly soon," the airline said. "We deeply apologize."

The Royal Marechaussee confirmed that a hijacking alarm was sent from the cockpit, but did not know how the false alarm happened.

Schiphol is the main international airport in the Netherlands. The hub flies to 326 destinations and served 71 million passengers last year, according to its website.

Operations returned to normal at Schiphol shortly after the false alarm.

Dutch Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus said on Twitter that the investigation by national police was complete and that he was impressed by their quick response.