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FR4978 ATH-VNO diverted, escorted to Minsk, alleged bomb threat – but was it?

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FR4978 ATH-VNO diverted, escorted to Minsk, alleged bomb threat – but was it?

Old 25th May 2021, 11:51
  #121 (permalink)  
 
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xcris

After the ATC finishes the sentence "for security reasons" he says airport security sent email, than RYR asks if that recommendation to land at MSQ came from RYR, departing port or landing port, ATC says recommendation came from them (it's our recommendation)

By the sound of it, Belarus ATC recommended RYR to land at MSQ and they obliged. Whether there is more to this, I guess we will find out soon
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Old 25th May 2021, 12:06
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PS, I missed that one: "The Investigative Committee branch of Minsk's Oktyabrsky District has opened a criminal case into a knowingly false report about danger in line with part 1, Article 340 of the Criminal Code."


https://eng.belta.by/society/view/no...l-140165-2021/
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Old 25th May 2021, 12:25
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Originally Posted by 2unlimited
Now one thing needs to be clear, the article might be true, but have in mind that this is a regime where the press is controlled by Lukashenko, unless you do what he wants, you risk prison or death penalty. So I would not really believe a word they say, until we have some independent verifiable proof such as unedited ATC recording, radar images etc.

Until then assume any official Belarussian news source is telling you only 10% of the truth.
It was sarcasm. Now they try to cover up any wrongdoing - like endangering a passenger flight by issuing false alarms. They will come with a scapegoat soon.

LE: Oh, it was an e-mail!! )))
On 24 May 2021, director of the Department of Aviation of the Ministry of Transport of Belarus Artyom Sikorsky read out an email letter sent to Minsk airport on 23 May. This message was signed by "Hamas soldiers" and included demands to Israel to "cease fire in Gaza strip" (see 2021 Israel–Palestine crisis) and for the European Union to stop the support of Israel. It was threatened to blow up the plane over Vilnius, according to this letter.[27]Chancellor of GermanyAngela Merkel called the Belarusian explanation "completely implausible".[28] Hamas denied it was in any way connected to the incident.[29][30]
On 25 May 2021, Belarusian Department of Aviation published the transcript of radio communications between the Belarusian air traffic control and the FR 4978 pilots. According to that transcript, Belarusian flight operator originally told the pilots that they "have information from special services" about the bomb on board, later he said that the bombing alert was received by "several airports" and finally told the pilots that landing in Minsk "is our recommendations".[31]

source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryanair_Flight_4978
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Old 25th May 2021, 12:33
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Originally Posted by 2unlimited
It seems strange how easy it was for ATC to make an aircraft divert from it's route
We only have one short clip of the recording. We have no idea of the timing of this discussion. Was it in the beginning, was it at the very point of turn, was there any contact with the FJ etc.
What if, after this exchange, the RYR was contacted by atc/FJ and the recommendation was repeated with weight?
All I hear is that the crew asks who made the recommendation and ATC says they did. What happened next?

I would NOT go into distances with children of the magenta line as no one knows the entire story.
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Old 25th May 2021, 12:35
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I would wait for the transcript that is not published by Belarus before casting any aspersions. The Belarusians will naturally be pushing the narrative that the crew were not forced to land at UMMS and could edit any audio transcript to better fit this.

There had to be compelling reasons for the crew to elect to land at UMMS. They started their duty in EYVI and were likely to be very familiar with the airport. Why divert to an airport that is off the company route network which has no handling support and is likely to be unfamiliar to both pilots, when what is likely to have been their home base, is closer?
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Old 25th May 2021, 12:49
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I don't seem to understand: First Belarus reported that their President had ordered the diversion to Minsk and now they say the crew requested it?
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Old 25th May 2021, 12:55
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Originally Posted by Mister Geezer
The Belarusians will naturally be pushing the narrative that the crew were not forced to land at UMMS and could edit any audio transcript to better fit this.
The (Bela)Russians will push beyond the common-sense limits any narrative which will create more chaos and deception in own public's minds, the coarse, the better. It doesn't have to be convincing, the idea is to proliferate all kinds of aberrations so that people can resign to conclusions like "we will never know the truth", "everyone lies", "anything it's possible" and so on - "Active Measures" 101.
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Old 25th May 2021, 14:33
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If the Belarus government want the claim this incident wasn’t a hijacking, simply release Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend unharmed.
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Old 25th May 2021, 15:11
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Originally Posted by Beamr
So what horse did Russia have in this event? If there really were four Russian Spetznaz/FSB/OMON other special ops, why were they there and why taking action on behalf of Belarus?
Testing the waters for future kidnappings of Russian citizens abroad. Just like Russia tested a tougher approach against protesters in Belarus a few months ago (Russia even sent their TV anchors there), and then applied it on its own soil.

Originally Posted by Less Hair
I don't seem to understand: First Belarus reported that their President had ordered the diversion to Minsk and now they say the crew requested it?
It's the usual "unpredictive past" in a dictatorship. It helps create confusion over what really happened.

Originally Posted by John4321
If the Belarus government want the claim this incident wasn’t a hijacking, simply release Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend unharmed.
The weird thing is, releasing them will not change anything in respect to the hijacking. The offense here was forcing the plane to land, not arresting a wanted person after it was on the ground. If they forced it to land illegally, it remains a hijacking even if they release these people. If they didn't force, but merely tricked it into landing at MSQ, it is not a hijacking.

All Belarus needs to do is to find a non-government scapegoat who sent in the bomb threat. Assuming of course there were no direct threats by the ATC or the MIG fighter jet against the plane.
​​​​​​​
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Old 25th May 2021, 16:30
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Anyone surprised that facts don't really match the narrative ?

Most likely they were tricked into landing in Minsk via fake bomb threat. There might have been a plan B (with operatives in the plane) or a plan C (with the MIG) but it never went that far.
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Old 25th May 2021, 16:39
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This web page has published what they claim to be a full transcript of the ATC/pilot conversation:
https://meduza.io/en/news/2021/05/25...nsk-dispatcher (look for "read more")

I copied the transcript here to make it easier:
https://eslweb.epfl.ch/cgi-bin/newsa...view=1&id=2383

The pilot seems really sceptical, keeps asking where the information is coming from. He asks what level of alarm is being raised, and when ATC says "red" he finally agrees to divert to Minsk.
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Old 25th May 2021, 17:16
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Has NATO shared anything public about this flight? I would prefer their transscript.
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Old 25th May 2021, 19:23
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Wow, thank you ATC Watcher!
So: just after being handed off from UKBU to UMMV, they were prompted about the alleged bomb alert. At 09:47:12z, about 19 minutes later, they declared the emergency, being at 54.052917,25.346951 (FR24 data), less than 25 Km to the Lithuanian border, still at 390. No interceptor mentioned whatsoever. And for the whole exchange, the crew doesn't appear to buy Belarusian stories at all. Apparently - as anticipated, and normal - they tried to get in contact with the company. Minks even gave them a (company??) frequency in... Vilnius (131.750). After 3 minutes, the pilot asks about the severity of the threat (were they in contact with someone?) and requests a hold, but after another 2-3 minutes they declare "MAYDAY" and divert to Minsk.
Is this the whole thing? Odd :/

Last edited by xcris; 25th May 2021 at 19:58.
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Old 25th May 2021, 19:33
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The whole English statement of the Belorussian CAA is quoted here because their site gives constantly error 508 (due to high traffic) and could fail totally at any time:

Department of Aviation in accordance with the requirements of Standards 5.2.5 and 5.3.1 of Annex 17 to the Convention on the International Civil Aviation, the Department of Aviation informs about the fact of an act of unlawful interference in the activities of civil aviation on the territory of the Republic of Belarus.

On May 23, 2021, a written message with the following content in English was sent to the e-mail of the National Airport Minsk from the e-mail address protonmail.com:

“We, Hamas soldiers, demand that Israel cease fire in the Gaza Strip. We demand that the European Union abandon its support for Israel in this war. We know that the participants of Delphi Economic Forum are returning home on May 23 via flight FR4978. A bomb has been planted onto this aircraft. If you don’t meet our demands the bomb will explode on May 23 over Vilnius. Allahu Akbar.”

Taking into account the seriousness of the threat received, the information from the National Airport Minsk was forwarded to the relevant air traffic control services of Belaeronavigatsia State-Owned-Enterprise.

In accordance with the requirements of the Annex 17 to the Chicago Convention and the National Program for the Protection of Civil Aviation from Acts of Unlawful Interference in the Republic of Belarus, a response actions mechanism was put into effect in connection with acts of unlawful interference in the civil aviation activity.

The flight FR4978 en route Athens (Greece) - Vilnius (Lithuania), operated on a Boeing 737-800 by Ryanair. The aircraft departed from Athens airport at 07.10 UTC (10.10 Belarusian time), entered into the Republic of Belarus airspace under the control of the Minsk ACC at 09.30 UTC (12.30 Belarusian time). The entry point into the airspace of the Minsk FIR was SOMAT.

After establishing communication between the Belarusian air traffic controller and the crew of the aircraft, the crew was immediately informed about the incoming threat related to the possible presence of an explosive device on the aircraft board , and the flight crew was recommended to land at an alternate aerodrome at the National Airport Minsk. The crew several times clarified the sources of obtaining information and was informed that the initial information about the threats was sent to the National Airport Minsk.

Before this, the Minsk ACC Supervisor tried several times to call the representative office of Ryanair in Lithuania using the phone number provided by the aircraft crew, but he could not manage to contact any of the airline representatives.

Having received and clarified the information, the FR4978 crew in accordance with the established international requirements at 09.47 UTC (12.47 Belarusian time) set the transponder code 7700 on the aircraft board (indicating the presence of an emergency) and in the radiotelephone mode requested assistance with the phrase "MAYDAY". After that, the crew, taking into account the requirements of Standard 3.7.2 Annex 2 to the Chicago Convention, announced that they had decided to land at the National Airport Minsk.

Taking into account the crew decision, the air traffic control authorities of the Republic of Belarus provided them with all the necessary priority assistance. A contingency plan was put into effect at the National Airport Minsk, all relevant services of the airport and other interested state bodies were notified and alerted in the prescribed manner.

The landing of the aircraft of the flight FR4978 at the National Airport Minsk was completed at 10.15 UTC (13.15 Belarusian time).

After landing, the aircraft, in accordance with the established international and national requirements in aviation security, was assigned to a special isolated parking lot, where the corresponding actions for inspection and interrogation were carried out in relation to the aircraft, crew, passengers, baggage, cargo, mail.

These actions are provided and must be performed by states in accordance with the Standards set out in Chapter 5 of Annex 17 to the Chicago Convention.

By 13.20 UTC all the procedures established by international and national legislation had been completed and the aircraft could take off, however the flight FR4978 departed from National Airport Minsk at 17.48 UTC and at 18.27 UTC made a safe landing at Vilnius airport.

According to preliminary assessments of the Department of Aviation, taking into account the requirements of international legislation, the air traffic control staff of Belaeronavigatsia State-Owned-Enterprise, the aircraft crew, the forces and services involved in the National Airport Minsk in the described situation acted in accordance with the requirements prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

At present in the Republic of Belarus, to consider the circumstances of the event an ad-hoc commission has been created.

As an evidence of the fact that the pilot-in-command took his own decision to land at National Airport Minsk without any pressure from Belarussian side, we published the extract of ATC-pilot radiotelephony.

The Department of Aviation also wants to assure that the Belarusian aviation authorities, aviation organizations and the relevant law enforcement agencies of the state have taken and will continue to take the necessary measures and actions provided for by international and national legislation aimed at ensuring reliable protection of civil aviation from acts of unlawful interference.

For further consideration of the circumstances the Department of Aviation has invited representatives of ICAO, IATA, EASA, and EU and USA Civil Aviation Authorities.



Выписка из магнитофонной записи фразеологии радиообмена экипаж-диспетчер за 23.05.2021 г, рейс RYR1TZРДЦ Запад



Pilot: 09:28:58 Minsk, Good day, RYR 1TZ, FL390 approaching SOMAT

ATC:09:29:04 RYR 1TZ, Minsk Control, good afternoon, radar contact.

ATC: 09:30:49 RYR 1TZ, Minsk

Pilot: Yes, go ahead.

ATC: RYR 1TZ for your information, we have information from special services that you have bomb on board and it can be activated over Vilnius.

Pilot: 1TZ Standby.

Pilot. 09:31:17: Ok RYR 1TZ could you repeat the message?

ATC: RYR 1TZ, I say again we have information from special services that you have bomb on board. That bomb can be activated over Vilnius.

Pilot: Roger that, standby.

ATC: 09:31:42: RYR 1TZ for security reason we recommend you to land at UMMS.

Pilot: Ok...that..it..understood give us alternate please.

Pilot:09:32:59: RYR 1TZ

ATC: RYR 1TZ

Pilot: The bomb....direct message, where did it come from? Where did you have information about it from?

ATC: RYR 1TZ stanby please.

ATC: 09:33:42: RYR 1TZ

Pilot: Go ahead.

ATC: RYR 1TZ airport security stuff informed they received e-mail.

Pilot: Roger, Vilnius airport security stuff or from Greece?

ATC: RYR 1TZ this e-mail was shared to several airports.

Pilot: Roger, standby.

Pilot:09:34:49: Radar, RYR 1TZ.

ATC: RYR 1TZ.

Pilot: Could you give us frequency for (unreadable) company so that we would be able to (unreadable).

ATC: RYR 1TZ say again what frequency do you need.

Pilot: We just need to quawk with the operation of the company, if there any frequency for that (unreadable).

ATC. Do you need RYR operation frequency?

Pilot: That is correct 1TZ.

ATC: Standby please.

ATC: RYR 1TZ ,Standby please

Pilot: Standing-by.

Pilot:09:39:30: RYR 1TZ Any adverts?

ATC: RYR 1TZ Standby, waiting for the information.

Pilot: Could you say again that I have to call for the airport that authorities ...(unreadable) to divert to..

ATC: RYR 1TZ I read you THREE, say again please.

Pilot:09:39:57: Radar, RYR 1TZ .

ATC : RYR 1TZ ,Go.

Pilot: Can you say again the IATA code of the airport that authorities recommended us to divert to?

ATC: RYR 1TZ roger, standby please.

Pilot: OK, I give you (unreadable) can you say again IATA code of the airport that authorities have recommended us to divert to?

ATC: RYR 1TZ Standby.

Pilot: Standby, Roger.

ATC :09:41:00: RYR 1TZ .

Pilot: Go ahead.

ATC: IATA code is MSQ.

Pilot: can you say again please?

ATC:IATA code MSQ.

Pilot: MSQ, thanks.

Pilot: 09:41:58: RYR 1TZ Again, this recommendation to divert to Minsk where did it come from?Where did it come from?Company? Did it come from departure airport authorities or arrival airport authorities?

ATC: RYR 1TZ this is our recommendations.

Pilot: can you say again?

ATC: RYR 1TZ this is our recommendations.

Pilot : unreadable.

Pilotid you say that your recommendation?

ATC: RYR 1TZ , Charlie-Charlie.

ATC: 09.42.49: RYR 1TZ we have ground stuff frequency for Vilnius 131.750

Pilot. 131.75 and we have contact...(unreadable).

ATC:09:44:38 RYR 1TZ advise your decision please?

Pilot: Radar ,RYR 1TZ

ATC:RYR 1TZ advise your decision please.

Pilot; 09:44:52: I need answer the question what is the code of the (unreadable) green, yellow or amber red.

ATC: Standby.

ATC:09:45:09 RYR 1TZ they say code is red.

Pilot: Roger that, in that case we request holding at present position.

ATC: RYR 1TZ Roger, hold over your position, mantain FL390 turns at own discretion.

Pilot; Ok holding at our discretion at present position mantaining FL390 RYR 1TZ.

Pilot:09:47:12: RYR 1TZ we are declaring an emergency MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY RYR 1TZ. our intentions would be to divert to Minsk airport

ATC: RYR 1TZ MAYDAY, Roger.Standby for vectors.

Pilot: Standby RYR 1TZ .

Pilot: 09:48:10 RYR 1TZ request descent to 10000 feet.

ATC: RYR 1TZ , descend FL100.

Pilot: descend (unreadable) RYR 1TZ .

ATC:RYR 1TZ from present position cleared direct point KOLOS : Kilo Oscar Lima Oskar Sierra.

Pilot: Direct to KOLOS RYR 1TZ.

ATC:09:50:15 RYR 1TZ how do you read me?

Pilot: I read you 5 RYR 1TZ .

ATC: Roger.

ATC:09:50:24: RYR 1TZ do you need any aerodrome details and weather information?

Pilot : We can (unreadable )ATIS from Minsk ...enough.

ATC: RYR 1TZ do you need ATIS frequency?

Pilot: We got it.09:It is 128.850, 1 TZ.

ATC:09:51:50: RYR 1TZ

Pilot: 1TZ , go ahead.

ATC: RYR 1TZ KOLOS 2H arrival, RW in use 31R and if you need vectors advise.

Pilot: Ok, KOLOS.. could you say the (unreadable).

ATC: KOLOS 2H arrival.

Pilot: KOLOS 2H arrival, RW 31R, RYR 1TZ

ATC: And ATIS frequency is 128.850

Pilot: 28.85.

ATC:09:52:29: RYR 1TZ and advise passengers on board and if any dangerous goods on board.

Pilot: No dangerous goods, standby...and we need 130 to avoid.

Pilot:09:53:00 RYR 1TZ turning heading 130 to avoid.

ATC: RYR 1TZ roger heading 130 report clear of weather.

Pilot: WILCO.

Pilot :09:54:45: RYR 1TZ persons on board is 133.

ATC: Persons on board 133 copied thank you.

ATC:09:55:33 RYR 1TZ when ready report estimating time of arrival.

Pilot: 09:56:48: RYR 1TZ request descend 9000 feet.

ATC: RYR 1TZ descend FL90.

Pilot. Descend FL90, RYR 1TZ .

ATC: 09:57:12: RYR 1TZ now contact Minsk approach on 125.9.

Pilot: 125.9, RYR 1TZ

Pilot: 09:57:22 Approach, Hallo, RTZ descending to FL 90 on the heading 130

ATC: RYR1TZ Minsk Approach good day expect vectoring for ILS RW 31R descend to altitude 6000 feet QNH 1010

Pilot: 6000 feet QNH 1010 vectors for ILS 31R, RYR1TZ

ATC: RYR1TZ turn left heading 070

Pilot: Heading 090 RYR1TZ

Pilot: (unreadable) Confirm ILS 31R

ATC: RYR1TZ Affirm ILS Approach RW 31R

Pilot: 31R thanks

ATC: RYR1TZ do you need any data information about Minsk 2?

Pilot: Stand by

Pilot: RYR1TZ request heading 060 (unreadable) turn to avoid

ATC: RYR1TZ cleared heading 060

Pilot: 060 degrees (unreadable)

Pilot: To correction that’s may be (unreadable) 1TZ

ATC: 1TZ Roger

Pilot: RYR1TZ actually request heading 040 for avoid for 20 miles may be (unreadable) 1TZ

ATC: RYR1TZ heading 040

Pilot: Heading 040 RYR1TZ (unreadable) 1TZ

Pilot: RYR1TZ request heading 030 to avoid for 10 miles

ATC: RYR1TZ heading 030

Pilot: Heading 030 RYR1TZ

ATC: 10:01:14 RYR1TZ do you need any assistance upon arrival?

Pilot: Negative RYR1TZ

ATC: RYR1TZ Roger

Pilot: 10:02:46 RYR1TZ are you aware of nature of our (unreadable) urgenty

ATC: RYR1TZ yes we have information

Pilot: Roger (unreadable) location (unreadable) the aircraft should be parked on in the airport (unreadable) doing this event

ATC: 10:03:15 RYR1TZ say again your message please

Pilot: RYR1TZ Do you have (unreadable) a nature the civic area in the airport where the aircraft should be parked on in this kind of event?

ATC: RYR1TZ yes we have special area

Pilot: Roger that RYR1TZ in this case no other assistance needed

ATC: RYR1TZ roger

Pilot: 10:04:14 RYR1TZ request

ATC: Go ahead

Pilot: Just wanted to know if our company was informed about about this case about this event

ATC: RYR1TZ stand by

Pilot: RYR1TZ (unreadable) сomplete and now we are ready to commence approach

ATC: RYR1TZ Roger turn right heading 080

Pilot: 080 degrees RYR1TZ

ATC: RYR1TZ we will try to pass information to your company during 5 minutes

ATC: 10:06:45 RYR1TZ descend to altitude 4000 feet

Pilot: Descending 4000 feet RYR1TZ

Pilot: RYR1TZ Confirm QNH

ATC: RYR1TZ QNH 1009

Pilot: 1009 QNH RYR1TZ

ATC: RYR1TZ turn left heading 050 descend to altitude 3000 feet

Pilot: Left heading 050 descending 3000 feet RYR1TZ

ATC: 10:10:23 RYR1TZ turn left heading 010 cleared ILS Approach RW 31R report establish localizer

Pilot: Turn left heading 010 cleared ILS 31R report establish RYR1TZ

ATC: 10:11:21 RYR1TZ you’ve just passed the final

ATC: 10:12:26 RYR1TZ do you have contact localizer?

Pilot: Affirm

ATC: RYR1TZ contact Tower 130,4

Pilot: 130,4 RYR1TZ
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Old 25th May 2021, 19:34
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The transcript reads pretty plausible; quite sneaky to say "you have bomb on board and it can be activated over Vilnius," so the pilot is less likely to continue to the destination.
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Old 25th May 2021, 19:50
  #136 (permalink)  
 
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I feel bad for the pilots, because they are obviously hesitating, but it seems like after some discussion in the cockpit they make a decision to ask what status the alert is. If it is "red" - that's your job on the line. They don't seem to have got much information from Vilnius Ground, so they have to trust the only ATC they can contact, and if the controller says it is status red, you have to react...

...which underlines just how low Belarus authorities were prepared to go. They behaved in a way that goes against everything that trust between pilots and controllers is built on.

On top of that their cover story is that Hamas sent them a threatening email. A bunch of schoolkids could have come up with a better one.
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Old 25th May 2021, 20:09
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global2express

Most probably that was the trigger, quite explicable given the situation and the viciously induced stress and confusion, a lame try otherwise, as the whole plot. The Belarus ATCO sounds like a bad actor begging for the cues. Which most probably happened...
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Old 25th May 2021, 20:18
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Agreed. So sinister that they keep having to call "stand by" and ask questions, presumably from an intelligence officer, instead of having all the facts at their finger tips.
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Old 25th May 2021, 20:50
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Review by ICAO Council (and, Action??)

ICAO's social media account on the Tw platform first condemned the action(s) by Belarus (on May 23) and yesterday announced convening of an "urgent" meeting of the ICAO Council.
Here are the posts, copied verbatim from that official ICAO account:

"ICAO's Council President has called an urgent meeting of the 36 diplomatic representatives to the ICAO Council, on 27 May, on the incident involving Ryanair Flight FR4978 in Belarus airspace on 23 May 2021. We will post further updates as available."

"ICAO is strongly concerned by the apparent forced landing of a Ryanair flight and its passengers, which could be in contravention of the Chicago Convention. We look forward to more information being officially confirmed by the countries and operators concerned."
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Old 25th May 2021, 21:05
  #140 (permalink)  
 
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Clever they thought about this quite carefully, "activated over Vilnius". This was not a forced demand to divert to Minsk like we have been led to believe. The PIC made that decision based on the information (lies) available. There is a Russian minister on record having publicly celebrated Belarus's brilliant execution. The Russian Foreign Ministry should be asked by ICAO to clarify what he meant.and to understand if Russia played a part in this.
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