Nine passengers have been arrested after a plane in Tel Aviv was forced to return to its stand because hundreds of passengers were sent harrowing images of plane crashes via AirDrop.
According to multiple reports, passengers at Ben Gurion Airport were sent images by AirDrop as their AndoluJet flight to Istanbul began to taxi to the runway, prompting mass panic and forcing the pilots to return to the stand so security could check the plane.
A taxiing plane returned to the gate at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday after photos of aviation disasters popped up on passengers’ phones – sent, Israeli authorities believe, by nine people on board using the iPhone “AirDrop” function.
A spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority confirmed the incident was not a cyberattack, and that nine suspects had been arrested by police. They were described as Israeli citizens and “among the passengers.” The spokesperson further confirmed that Apple’s AirDrop feature on the iPhone was used to disseminate the image, reportedly to 166 passengers according to one local radio broadcaster.
At least one passenger fainted and another had a panic attack, according to the report.
All passengers and their baggage were taken off the plane for additional security checks, and the plane took off hours later than intended. If prosecuted and found guilty, the perpetrators could face up to three years in prison for disseminating false information.
The report echoes a similar indicent last year where a teenager caused a plan in san Francisco to be evacuated after sending a photo of an airsoft gun via AirDrop.