Creating a ruckus, passengers of Air India Express flight 4422 entered into a heated argument with the pilot after it was diverted to the capital due to poor visibility at Kochi, causing delay by nearly nine hours, airport sources said.
Some of them forced their way into the cockpit at which the pilot pressed the alarm button sending out a hijack message,setting off a flurry of activity with airport security personnel surrounding the plane with 200 passengers on board, airport officials said.
Six passengers were detained and questioned by Central Industrial Security Force personnel when the plane landed at Kochi and later let off.
The passengers were questioned on a complaint by Commander Rupali Waghmare that some passengers had barged into the cockpit and threatened her with dire consequences if she did not take the flight to Kochi, Air India sources said.
The flight landed in Kochi with a new crew. The co-pilot, who travelled here as a passenger, identified the six and they were questioned. Police said no FIR was registered.
Aviation regulator DGCA has ordered a probe into the incident, official sources said in New Delhi.
Drama unfolded again at Kochi airport where some of the passengers protested soon after landing complaining they were treated badly and asked to leave by road to Kochi, which irked them and so they refused to disembark at Thiruvananthapuram.
"When we protested, attempts were made to foist false cases on us," one of the passengers said.
Passengers, who were questioned, said their passports were taken by CISF after immigration formalities, but were later returned.
The lady pilot instead of calming angry passengers behaved rudely, Anitha, another passenger said.
Describing passengers' reaction as 'spontaneous', Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy ordered a probe by DGP K S Balasubramanian into mutual complaints of the pilot and passengers against each other.
Passengers gave different versions on the onboard drama, claiming none had entered the cockpit.
Some passengers said as they raised their voice, the pilot must have got scared and sent out the hijack message.
"No. It is wrong," said Sivan, a passenger, denying that some on board the flight tried to barge into the cockpit.
Another passenger, Tanya said it was a "terrible situation with lot of women and children here. We were not given food. The AC was switched off and there was no proper sanitation also. We asked for food, but we were not even provided water".
She said the passengers complained about the delay and lack of food and water but "no one tried to go upto the cockpit".
Nothing was done to take passengers to Kochi and they were told that the plane had to wait at the airport here for refuelling, another passenger Premjit said.
Police said passengers were upset as they had to wait for a long time and there was no security issue. Another pilot was sent to the aircraft and "there is no emergency of hijack as claimed by the previous pilot", they said.