Coffee Spill Diverts United Airlines Flight, Triggers Hijacking Alert

January 6th, 2011 - 1:33 am ICT by Angela Kaye Mason  

Jan 5 (THAINDIAN NEWS) A cup of coffee belonging to a pilot on board a United Airlines flight, which was headed to Frankfurt, Germany from Chicago, Illinois, spilled over, causing the plane to have to make an unscheduled stop in Canada. According to a report from the ‘Associated Press’, the coffee spill causes several distress signals to be triggered, which included the signal for a hijacking or unlawful interference.

A report from ‘Transport Canada’ stated that the United Airlines Flight 940 was diverted to the airport in Toronto, Canada late on Monday, and managed to land safely at the Pearson International Airport there. The defense department of Canada was notified, but along with the aide of the United dispatch, they found the cause to be a communication issue, and not a real hijacking. The flight crew confirmed this.

The FAA said that the pilot of the aircraft “had inadvertently squawked a 7500 code after spilling coffee on the aircraft’s radio equipment, which interfered with the communications equipment. The flight crew had advised that they had communication problems and subsequently reported that they had some navigation problems as well and from there the pilot in the command diverted the flight onto Toronto.”

Although the pilot was in contact with the tower throughout the occurrence, he opted to go ahead and divert the plane rather than make the long trip while having issues with communication. There were 241 passengers and 14 crew on board the Boeing 777, which were flown back to Chicago via another plane, and then put into hotels buy the airline before flying on to Germany the next day.

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