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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 26th May 2021, 13:19
  #181 (permalink)  
 
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Just a thought ... could 'someone' have access to passenger lists or getting an alert when a specific name is entered? And of course, whether or not that specific name has been confirmed as having checked in and boarded the aircraft? That's a useful starting point to get the 'game' going ...
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Old 26th May 2021, 13:38
  #182 (permalink)  
 
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In the meantime did the FD crew receive a threat to the aircraft or passengers from the "KGB" agents on board via the cabin crew? That's a possibility to add the the myriad of other scenarios. We are nowhere near the full story just yet.
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Old 26th May 2021, 15:23
  #183 (permalink)  
 
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Opposition politician Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya admitted on Sky News that she flew from 'Greece to Lithuania' recently, so one could assume a similar route over Belarus was flown. I am unaware if Roman Protasevich knew about her recent travel plans but if he did, he could be forgiven for thinking he would be relatively safe if Lukasheko's passed the chance to apprehend his main political opponent. Perhaps Protasevich was under close observation from Belarusian intelligence and it was a question of when rather than if he was apprehended or harmed and he was of course, blissfully unaware that he was being monitored?
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Old 26th May 2021, 15:24
  #184 (permalink)  
 
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Meanwhile, nothing of any lasting consequence will happen. Belarus just pulled off a well planned and executed abduction.
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Old 26th May 2021, 16:11
  #185 (permalink)  
 
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standbykid

"Meanwhile, nothing of any lasting consequence will happen. Belarus just pulled off a well planned and executed abduction."

I fear you are correct. By next week, once all the huffing and puffing has died down, it will be last week's news and business as usual.
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Old 26th May 2021, 17:11
  #186 (permalink)  
 
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Pistonprop

None of the passengers interviewed so far reported anything out of the ordinary until the landing. The crew did not report anything either. The people who left the aircraft were passengers booked on a further leg to Minsk (which does not mean them being innocent parties but doesn't make them state agents either). To the best of what we know so far the crew was deceived into diverting into Minsk. All considered (lack of company suport, limited information, unaware of the "high profile" passenger they had on bord) their action seems adequate.

Last edited by atakacs; 26th May 2021 at 18:46.
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Old 26th May 2021, 17:14
  #187 (permalink)  
 
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Perhaps someone can clarify, but by my review of what has been posted and reported, the actions don't follow the narrative.

Presuming we take everything from the Minsk authorities at face value, let's look at what happened once the plane landed. By passenger reports, Roman was immediately seized and questioned. His were the only bags sniffed. I don't think anyone else was removed from the plane... Is this SOP when you are focusing on a potential bomb threat? Did they even attempt to fake their concern over a bomb? Over 120 witnesses can attest to what they saw and observed....But, how does Minsk square their actions with a procedure to swiftly remove this person as their primary focus over the sweeping for a bomb... The passengers interviewed stated Roman was singled out immediately.... How is Minsk going to be able to create a narrative for this? Is Roman the suspected Hamas agent in their narrative? I mean was the plane even swept for a potential bomb at any point?
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Old 26th May 2021, 17:23
  #188 (permalink)  
 
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Alsacienne

In some places it is called ESTA.

To be honest Russian intelligence is often presented as grotesquely incompetent as of late but they are suspected to have infiltrated the whole UK visa system so anything is possible…

But for the case at hand the presence of Protasevich in Athens was of public record as he was covering Tikhanoushkaya’s appearance (not exactly clear what she was doing there meeting with various diplomats). A discrete surveillance up to the airport and seeing him board the Ryanair direct fight was all the intel needed

Last edited by atakacs; 27th May 2021 at 19:54.
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Old 26th May 2021, 17:24
  #189 (permalink)  
 
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letsjet

All passengers were disembarked and all their luggage unloaded and inspected. They spent 7 hours in a terminal building.
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Old 26th May 2021, 20:05
  #190 (permalink)  
 
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By the time you've finished typing your ACARS message you'd be on the ground already.
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Old 26th May 2021, 21:50
  #191 (permalink)  
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The people at FR must be blind not to see this.
To be fair to them this was decision made decades ago based on other assumptions at a time where removing window blinds and other PR things were the norm. . Since then they apparently have seen the light and are changing policies on this matter. So we are told. But Retrofitting 400+ aircraft is not easy and unlikely to happen, , but they are replacing them , 200+ are on order and those should be Data link equipped, again , so we are told .
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Old 27th May 2021, 00:00
  #192 (permalink)  
 
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Mister Geezer

Lukashenka has no interest in apprehending Tsikhanovskaya - in fact he forced her to leave the country instead of keeping her under arrest! She is much less of a problem for him when she is abroad.

Protasevich on the other hand was a major PITA for him thanks to his NEXTA Telegram channel (which was the news source about protests). Plus his girlfriend was reportedly running another Telegram channel where she published personal data on Belarusian cops involved in suppressing protests. They were easily the most wanted couple for Belarusian authorities. It was not a good idea to fly over Belarus for them (even without a bomb threat, you can always end up with an emergency landing).
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Old 27th May 2021, 01:48
  #193 (permalink)  
 
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Just saw a news story that claims the threatening email was received 24 minutes after the plane was instructed to divert. The sham continues to unravel.
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Old 27th May 2021, 05:13
  #194 (permalink)  
 
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here you go: https://news.yahoo.com/bomb-threat-c...203029699.html
And one from der Spiegel: https://www.spiegel.de/ausland/belar...5-d2e5030c2797

If these are real, the whole belarussian story just collapsed.

Last edited by Beamr; 27th May 2021 at 05:26.
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Old 27th May 2021, 05:43
  #195 (permalink)  
 
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Spiegel ist interesting.
They moved their wording from „entführt“ - abducted/hijacked to „zur Landung gedrängt“ - urged to land.
They are as deep in the a… of the german government as a private news outlet in the western world can be. That might indicate a slight correction of narrative. The presence of the MiG at gun point has been uncorrected so far in this country’s media.
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Old 27th May 2021, 07:49
  #196 (permalink)  
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Interesting the Speigel story ( normally very well informed) it says he email was sent to Vilnius airport at 12:25, so before they entered Belarus airspace. One possible scenario is that they probably thought that Vilnius would inform the crew via company frequency and the crew itself would announce it on on their frequency and would divert "naturally " to closest airport would would be Minsk. But that did not happen and as the aircraft was about to leave their airspace they quickly changed to plan B, only realizing afterwards they had not sent the email to themselves and someone stupidly did it retroactively .
The plot thickens....
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Old 27th May 2021, 10:04
  #197 (permalink)  
 
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Does anybody know if any and which EU countries have already introduced interdictions for Belavia/BRU overflight?
I can confirm that at 1000z there are no restrictions in Bucharest FIR (LRBB) and Sofia FIR (LBSR). Scheduled flights overfly Ukraine / Kyiv UIR (UKBU), as well.
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Old 27th May 2021, 10:41
  #198 (permalink)  
 
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I think generally for the EU/UK level it's still officially at the level of "requesting" their registered airlines to avoid.

TBF it looks like most UK/EU operators are doing as requested.

However if FR24 is to be believed some cargo operators, including some N reg ones, don't seem to have any many or inhibitions about continuing overflight.

For example Thurs AM at 1040 UTC there's a Fedex flight (FDX21) westbound over Belarus to the south of Minsk

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Old 27th May 2021, 10:53
  #199 (permalink)  
 
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If you look at the Minsk departure board (not a busy airport) there are 23 scheduled departures presently showing between 0300 and 1900. Nine of these are cancelled. Those which continue to operate are those to "friendly" countries!
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Old 27th May 2021, 11:45
  #200 (permalink)  
 
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xcris

Don't know about the rest, but Finnish authorities have
A: banned Belavia from operating in Finland. This in practice does affect Belavia as it has had four weekly flights to HEL (source: https://www.traficom.fi/en/news/traf...sation-finland )
B: Recommended Finnish carriers to avoid Belarus airspace and that all the carriers have agreed to comply (source: https://www.traficom.fi/en/news/euro...further-notice )
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