Plane carrying 303 Indians grounded by French authorities

A unit specialising in organised crime is investigating suspicions of human trafficking and arrested two people for questioning

By Reuters

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Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File
Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File

Published: Fri 22 Dec 2023, 8:45 PM

Last updated: Sat 23 Dec 2023, 10:10 AM

France has grounded a charter flight headed to Nicaragua carrying 303 Indian passengers, and a judicial investigation into the conditions and purposes of the trip has been launched, local officials in the eastern Marne region said on Friday.

A unit specialising in organised crime is investigating suspicions of human trafficking and arrested two people for questioning, the Paris public prosecution office said, adding that authorities had been tipped off by an anonymous informant.

The flight, carried out by Romanian charter company Legend Airlines, had departed from a Gulf country and landed at the small Vatry airport on Thursday afternoon for a technical stopover when police intervened, the Marne prefect's office said in a statement.

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The airline did not respond to Reuters messages and phone calls.

"The reception hall at Vatry airport was transformed into a waiting area with individual beds to provide passengers with the best possible reception conditions," the prefect's office said.

The Indian foreign ministry did not immediately reply to Reuters request for comment.

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