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An Israeli flight was postponed on Tuesday after more than 150 passengers received an eerie photo of a plane crash, sent anonymously to their phones.
Flight attendants onboard quickly investigated and the pilot made the decision to return to the terminal, according to a statement from the Israel Airports Authority (IAA).
The service was an AnadoluJet flight set to depart on Tuesday morning (10 May), and according to local radio broadcaster Galei Zahal, the image was sent to 166 passengers.
One passenger from the flight told local news outlet Kan News: “We got on the flight and the plane started moving.
“Most people received a request for a photo confirmation in AirDrop, some approved and some did not.
“The plane stopped and the flight attendants asked who got the pictures.”
— Noah Ross (@drnoahross) May 10, 2022
The passenger says the plane returned to the gate, where police boarded to inspect the aircraft.
“The airport manager told us there was a security incident,” they continued.
"They took all our luggage out of the plane for a second check."
According to the IAA, “nine villagers from the north were detained for questioning on suspicion of distributing the images”. They were all around the age of 18.
Eventually the plane was able to take off without the nine suspects on board.
IAA spokesperson Ofer Lefler told local reporters: “All passengers and luggage are now undergoing an additional inspection. The Israeli police and other security officials are also investigating the incident.
“The source of the photo was inside the plane.”
Last July, one US flight was evacuated after a teenager sent pictures of a toy gun to other passengers onboard.
The Orlando-bound United Airlines flight was due to depart from San Francisco on 22 July when several passengers received the photo via Airdrop, a service that allows sharing between Apple devices.
All travellers were evacuated off the plane out of “an abundance of caution”, according to an airport spokesperson.
They were subjected to an extra security screening before everyone, barring the culprit, was allowed to reboard the aircraft.