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Israeli flight to Turkey delayed after plane crash photos sent to passengers’ phones

10 passengers taken in for questioning by police; plane only takes off after luggage checked; similar incidents occurred on flights in May and November

An image of US Airways Flight 1549 after it crashed into the Hudson River in New York City on January 15 2009, sent to passengers onboard a Tel Aviv flight to Istanbul on January 13, 2023. (Israel Airports Authority)
An image of US Airways Flight 1549 after it crashed into the Hudson River in New York City on January 15 2009, sent to passengers onboard a Tel Aviv flight to Istanbul on January 13, 2023. (Israel Airports Authority)

A flight to Turkey from Ben Gurion Airport was delayed on Friday and 10 passengers were removed after travelers received photos of plane crashes and threatening messages on their Apple devices.

One of the photos sent to passengers on the Pegasus Airlines flight was an image of the 2009 Hudson River plane crash in New York, and was captioned, “I wish all of us will die,” in Arabic, according to images provided by the Israel Airports Authority (IAA).

“The suspect and another nine travelers were removed from the flight per the request of the airline company and the police,” the IAA spokesperson said in a statement.

“The passengers were taken in for questioning at Ben Gurion Airport,” the IAA added.

“People were in a panic when they saw the photos of the crashed plane and were very frightened. We turned to the flight attendants and they took care of it,” Channel 12 quoted a passenger telling police.

The photos were disseminated via Apple’s AirDrop service, which enables file-sharing on devices in close proximity.

An image of a plane crash sent to passengers onboard a Tel Aviv flight to Istanbul on January 13, 2023. (Israel Airports Authority)

The flight departed only after passengers’ luggage was checked, the Ynet news site reported.

In a similar incident in November, a Pegasus Air flight to Turkey from Ben Gurion Airport was delayed after passengers received threatening videos on their cell phones. One passenger was detained in connection to the affair.

In May, a flight was delayed after several passengers found photos of plane crashes had been sent to their cell phones. A number of passengers were later arrested.

Flights to Venice and Dubai from Tel Aviv also saw similar incidents.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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