On Monday, 11 July 2016, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) was notified of a false hi-jack alert, which involved SA Airlink’s Flight 8678 traveling from Cape Town International Airport to Wonderboom Airport in Pretoria.
SA Airlink Flight 8678, which was carrying 72 passengers and four crew members, departed Cape Town International Airport at around 10:00 and was destined to land at Wonderboom Airport at around 12:15. It is reported that roughly 10 minutes before landing, a hi-jack alert was set-off. SA Airlink Flight 8678 eventually landed safely as per its schedule.
Airlink confirmed one of its aircraft, an Avro RJ, operating as flight SA8678, emitted an anomalous hi-jack alert through its transponder.
“The passengers, crew and aircraft are all safe and on the ground at Wonderboom Airport where authorities have held the aircraft as a prescribed precautionary measure while they verify that all is in good order”, the airline said.
Notwithstanding the false hi-jack alert, which lasted a few seconds, the mandatory hijack response procedures were activated. When the aircraft landed at Wonderboom Airport, the police’s hijack response team conducted the necessary checks to ascertain that indeed the aircraft was not hijacked.
“The SACAA is satisfied that despite this being a false alarm, the stipulated procedures for dealing with a similar incident were correctly followed. This demonstrates the state of readiness of the various South African civil aviation and other State agencies when faced with a potential threat. The SACAA thus commend all officials who immediately activated their emergency procedures upon learning of the alert”, the South African Civil Aviation Authority said.
“Airlink will assist the investigating authorities with their inquiry, which is a mandatory step following such incidents. Airlink has also initiated an internal investigation into the erroneous transmission”, the airline added.