A Turkish Airlines flight out of Israel was aborted Tuesday before it even got off the tarmac, after passengers on board received chilling images of plane crashes on their cellphones.
The captain of the Turkish AnadoluJet flight decided to ground the flight after panic broke out, reports BBC.
The 737 jet had 160 passengers on board and was set to travel from Israel to Turkey.
It was taxiing to a take-off position when passengers began to receive the photos.
After the crew was alerted, the pilot made the decision to turn around and go back to the terminal at Ben Gurion Airport.
The Hebrew Ynet news site said the images were sent exclusively to iPhones via Apple’s AirDrop service, which allows iPhone users to send files to other iPhones that are in close proximity.
According to Israeli publication Kan News, the images included a Turkish Airlines plane which crashed in the Netherlands in 2009 and another plane crash in the United States in 2013.
The 2009 crash led to the deaths of nine passengers, while the 2013 Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash in San Francisco killed three.
One passenger who was aboard the flight when it was aborted told Kan News that “most people received a request for a photo confirmation in AirDrop, some approved and some did not.
“The plane stopped and the flight attendants asked who got the pictures.”
Another passenger told Israel Hayom, a local newspaper, that as the plane started to move, panic arose as one person fainted and another had a panic attack when they saw the photos.
Once back at the terminal, the passengers and crew were removed from the plane and all luggage was reinspected.
Israel Airports Authority spokesman Ofer Lefler told Kan News they don’t consider the incident to be a cyberattack, and said they believe the photos came from someone on the plane.
BBC reports that several young Israelis have been identified as suspects and are being questioned.
The flight departed five hours late after being cleared for takeoff.
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