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Gunpoint ordeal claim of Austrian stewardess

Austrian police are currently investigating allegations that a stewardess together with two German pilots was forced at gunpoint to try to fly more than a ton of cocaine from Venezuela to Europe.

The woman who is from Tirol was arrested together with the pilot and co-pilot when the plane was forced to touch down in the Canary Islands after leaving Venezuelan in the middle of the night without permission.

When it was forced to land at the Canary Islands police found more than a ton of cocaine on board hidden inside packages that were labelled as humanitarian supplies from the Red Cross.

The crew of the Maltese registered jet that included the Austrian woman claimed that they had been forced to take off by masked gunmen who threatened their families, and Austrian police are currently investigating whether the woman's family had suffered any threats as she claimed.

It is thought to be the islands largest ever drug seizure but the sequence of events leading to the discovery and the arrest of the three crew members of the Maltese-registered and operated Bombardier BD-700-1A10 luxury private jet, belonging to Hyperion Aviation, are still far from clear.

According to reports, the plane had suddenly left a Venezuelan airport in the city of Valencia in the dead of night while the airport was still closed − without seeking clearance and with the lights of the runway and the plane’s navigation lights switched off, which prompted Venezuelan officials to raise the alert with Interpol.

The Maltese jet is reported to have landed in Valencia, Venezuela at night inbound from Trinidad and Tobago. But the plane’s official flight plan, according to reports, showed it was meant to have arrived from Granada, and that it was due to depart for Brazil the next day.

According to the Venezuelan authorities, during the stopover in Valencia, an Australian woman had disembarked from the plane and left the airport. She is believed to have left Venezuela later on another aircraft and from another airport, for Madrid, where Spanish authorities are currently seeking her whereabouts.

After that and with the airport still closed, the plane is reported to have suddenly started its engines and taken off – without authorisation, from a pitch black runway and with the plane’s navigation lights still switched off, prompting Venezuelan officials to raise the alarm with Interpol for the kidnapping and alleged theft of an aircraft.

Several European countries, including Spain, were then put on the alert for the aircraft by Interpol.

The plane eventually touched down in the Canary Islands with Spanish police waiting for it.

The plane’s crew who had been staying at a Valencia hotel claim that in the early morning hours an unknown armed gang kidnapped them and brought them to the airport, which they broke into since it was closed at the time, and forced the crew to take off.

It has been reported that, at the airport, approximately 10 armed men had forced the crew to load the plane with about 40 boxes.

Spanish officials are reportedly treating the claim with scepticism saying that it would be unlikely for drug cartels to allow the transport of cocaine in such quantities to be carried out by somebody who is not a member of the organisation.

After her arrest the woman was held in custody but has now been allowed free after paying a 10,000 Euros bail. Together with the two pilots she has been ordered not to leave the island.

The woman who is from Tirol was arrested together with the pilot and co-pilot when the plane was forced to touch down in the Canary Islands after leaving Venezuelan in the middle of the night without permission.

When it was forced to land at the Canary Islands police found more than a ton of cocaine on board hidden inside packages that were labelled as humanitarian supplies from the Red Cross.

The crew of the Maltese registered jet that included the Austrian woman claimed that they had been forced to take off by masked gunmen who threatened their families, and Austrian police are currently investigating whether the woman's family had suffered any threats as she claimed.

It is thought to be the islands largest ever drug seizure but the sequence of events leading to the discovery and the arrest of the three crew members of the Maltese-registered and operated Bombardier BD-700-1A10 luxury private jet, belonging to Hyperion Aviation, are still far from clear.

According to reports, the plane had suddenly left a Venezuelan airport in the city of Valencia in the dead of night while the airport was still closed − without seeking clearance and with the lights of the runway and the plane’s navigation lights switched off, which prompted Venezuelan officials to raise the alert with Interpol.

The Maltese jet is reported to have landed in Valencia, Venezuela at night inbound from Trinidad and Tobago. But the plane’s official flight plan, according to reports, showed it was meant to have arrived from Granada, and that it was due to depart for Brazil the next day.

According to the Venezuelan authorities, during the stopover in Valencia, an Australian woman had disembarked from the plane and left the airport. She is believed to have left Venezuela later on another aircraft and from another airport, for Madrid, where Spanish authorities are currently seeking her whereabouts.

After that and with the airport still closed, the plane is reported to have suddenly started its engines and taken off – without authorisation, from a pitch black runway and with the plane’s navigation lights still switched off, prompting Venezuelan officials to raise the alarm with Interpol for the kidnapping and alleged theft of an aircraft.

Several European countries, including Spain, were then put on the alert for the aircraft by Interpol.

The plane eventually touched down in the Canary Islands with Spanish police waiting for it.

The plane’s crew who had been staying at a Valencia hotel claim that in the early morning hours an unknown armed gang kidnapped them and brought them to the airport, which they broke into since it was closed at the time, and forced the crew to take off.

It has been reported that, at the airport, approximately 10 armed men had forced the crew to load the plane with about 40 boxes.

Spanish officials are reportedly treating the claim with scepticism saying that it would be unlikely for drug cartels to allow the transport of cocaine in such quantities to be carried out by somebody who is not a member of the organisation.

After her arrest the woman was held in custody but has now been allowed free after paying a 10,000 Euros bail. Together with the two pilots she has been ordered not to leave the island.

Austrian Times


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