Berlin, Germany: German airline Lufthansa said it suspended the departure of a flight from Minsk to Frankfurt on Monday after it received a “security warning”, one day after a forced landing over Belarus.
“We are following the directions of the local authorities who are searching the plane again before departure and carrying out security checks again on passengers,” an airline spokesman said.
All luggage and freight had been evacuated from the airplane, which had 51 people on board, including five crew members, according to Lufthansa.
“We regret the inconvenience for the passengers but the security of our passengers, crew, and the plane takes top priority at Lufthansa,” the spokesman said.
Minsk airport announced on its Telegram channel shortly after Lufthansa made their statement that “all necessary actions” to verify the plane and its passengers had been completed.
“The information about a terror attack, that was received on the airport’s email, wasn’t substantiated,” it said.
“The plane is being readied for take-off, luggage is being loaded, boarding has been announced for Lufthansa flight LH1487 Minsk-Frankfurt.”
The security alert occurred just one day after a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius carrying dissident journalist Roman Protasevich was diverted while flying over Belarusian territory due to a bogus bomb threat.
On the instructions of strongman Alexander Lukashenko, a Belarusian fighter jet accompanied the plane to Minsk, where Protasevich, a 26-year-old who had been living in Lithuania, was arrested together with his Russian fiancée.