x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Suspects in Etihad flight smoke mystery released after questioning

Investigations into why smoke was repeatedly detected in toilets on an Etihad Airways flight from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi did not lead to conclusive evidence, the airline says.

ABU DHABI // An investigation into smoke that was repeatedly detected in toilets on an Etihad Airways flight has drawn a blank, and all 12 suspects have been released, the airline has said.

Etihad Airways representatives said the 12 passengers – British, Irish and Australian nationals – had been detained for questioning by security staff at Abu Dhabi airport but were released on Thursday and allowed to continue their journeys.

The passengers had opted to stay together rather than go to an airport hotel, and were accommodated in the airline’s first-class lounge in Terminal 1 at Abu Dhabi airport, with food and refreshments available at all times, the airline said.

Flight EY461 from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi was forced to divert to Jakarta after smoke began to pour out of two toilets, sounding alarms and frightening passengers.

The flight continued to the UAE after all passengers and their carry-on luggage went through another security check, but two hours from Abu Dhabi smoke was again detected.

Flight attendants stood guard outside the toilets for the remainder of the flight to prevent any further incidents.

“Safety is our number one priority and we have a zero-tolerance policy in respect to people who threaten the safety and security of passengers and crew or our aircraft,” the airline said.

lcarroll@thenational.ae