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Grounded flight with 300 Indians takes off from France, to reach Mumbai tomorrow

Grounded flight with 300 Indians takes off from France, to reach Mumbai tomorrow

A plane carrying over 300 passengers, mostly Indians, detained near Paris four days ago due to suspected human trafficking, has taken off and will land in Mumbai early on Tuesday.

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A plane carrying over 300 passengers, mostly Indians, detained near Paris four days ago due to suspected human trafficking, has taken off and will land in Mumbai early on Tuesday, as per reports.

The A-340 aircraft, being operated by Romania's Legend Airlines, was cleared for departure by French authorities and is expected to land at Mumbai airport tomorrow morning.

The plane was grounded by French authorities at the Vatry airport, 150 kilometres east of Paris last week.

The charter plane, headed to Nicaragua in the US, carrying 303 passengers (mostly Indians) that was grounded in France over suspicion of human trafficking, was allowed to resume its journey on Monday following the completion of legal formalities by the French authorities. The flight now has taken off for India.

However, Indian authorities are yet to confirm the development. It is also unclear where the flight would be headed after reaching Mumbai. It could travel to Nicaragua, its original destination, or to Dubai, from where it took off.

According to media reports, the flight landed in Vatry for refuelling and this is when French Police intercepted it after an anonymous tip-off that there were potential victims of human trafficking onboard. Four French judges questioned the detained passengers on Sunday.

The Nicaragua-bound charter plane included 11 unaccompanied minors. Two foreign nationals were taken in custody on Friday and their detention was extended on Saturday for up to 48 hours.

Hours after their detention, the Indian embassy to France affirmed that it will ensure the well-being of the passengers. "French authorities informed us of a plane w/ 303 people, mostly Indian origin, from Dubai to Nicaragua detained on a technical halt at a French airport. The embassy team has reached & obtained consular access. We are investigating the situation, also ensuring wellbeing of passengers," it tweeted.

Officials from the Indian general consulate visited the detained passengers.

As per reports, the Indians detained in France were workers in the UAE who were heading for Nicaragua on their way to the US or Canada. Some reports also claimed that around four dozen passengers have even sought asylum.

The lawyer Liliana Bakayoko added that the company will continue to be "available for investigations", and "will seek damages from its client because it has suffered significant harm".

A 'partner' firm that chartered the plane was responsible for verifying the identity documents of each passenger, and communicated the passengers' passport information to the airline 48 hours before the flight, Bakayoko said. 

Edited By: Joydeep Hazarika
Published On: Dec 25, 2023