Plot to flee into Spain after emergency landing was hatched on Facebook

Twelve Moroccans were arrested after one allegedly faked a serious illness to force crew to touch down in Palma

SUR PALMA.

More details have been emerging of the audacious plan by a group of young Moroccans to gain access to Spain by fleeing from a jet that had made an emergency landing in Palma de Mallorca.

Last Friday night police arrested 12 people who had run from the plane that had been travelling from Casablanca to Istanbul and was diverted to the Balearics when a passenger was supposedly taken ill.

On landing, around 20 of the passengers suddenly ran out of the Air Arabia plane onto the apron and disappeared into the night.

Airport operations at Palma were suspended for four hours while Guardia Civil hunted them.

The investigation so far has shown that the escape was allegedly a part of a plan carefully arranged over Facebook.

One message between those in a group named Brooklyn read, "After the forced landing I'll take you to a terminal other than arrivals, which is where the gate is where the 'patient' has to escape. Then the rest will attack that exit together. The security guard can't stop it, there's no police at that spot," it said. The message went on, "Everyone interested sign up."

Other discussions in the group talked about taking a GPS device onto the plane to be able to detect when it was flying over Spanish territory and to start shouting and insinuating a problem.

"The flight attendant will come over and ask the patient to hold on until reaching Turkey and at that time the others will get up and complain, saying he is going to die," said the social media message.

"The plane will make an emergency landing in Spain to protect the reputation of the airline and to avoid them taking any responsibility."

One of the fugitives posted an early morning message from Mallorca on the page. "Guys, I am still going around in circles in Spain. The police have been after us all morning in the woods and firing at us with rubber bullets. My phone is about to run out."

The group member who faked a serious diabetic condition to force the plane to land already had a criminal record after an unrelated incident in Marbella last year.