- What: A Romanian plane carrying 303 Indian nationals was grounded in France on suspicion of human trafficking.
- Where: Vatry Airport, eastern France.
- When: December 21, 2023.
- Why: French authorities received an anonymous tip about potential human trafficking.
- The plane was en route from the United Arab Emirates to Nicaragua with a scheduled stopover in France.
- Some passengers are minors, including 11 unaccompanied minors.
- The plane and passengers are being investigated.
- The airline involved, Legend Airlines, says it didn’t participate in ticket sales and the chartering company was outside the EU.
A chartered plane carrying 303 Indian nationals has been grounded by French Authorities on suspicion of human trafficking. 303 Indian citizens including 11 non-accompanied minors were on the flight belonging to Legend Airlines, as per the report of CNN.
The aircraft owned by Legend Airlines (a Romanian-based charter company) was en route to Nicaragua from the United Arab Emirates when it halted at Vatry Airport (150 km east of Paris) for supply/fueling.
The Airbus A340 aircraft was seized by French Authorities on December 21 following suspicious activity. Legend Airlines claimed it was not responsible for ticket sales, and the aircraft was chartered by a company registered outside of the European Union.
It has also been reported all the cabin crew of the A340 aircraft have already been interrogated, and released. Legend Airlines said the company who chartered the flight is their loyal client and had chartered various flights before.
The company has not been disclosed yet due to ongoing investigations.
“The Paris Prosecutor’s Office stated that two passengers are currently undergoing police interrogation to determine whether their involvement in the transportation differs from that of the others. The authorities are also investigating the circumstances and purpose behind their participation.”
The passengers on the charter flight have been halted in the airport, and they have spent two nights on camp beds as the investigation goes on.
As reported by Sky News, Emergency personnel, Red Cross staff, a physician, and local volunteers have reached the location to attend to the passengers’ requirements. This includes offering regular meals, medical assistance, and access to restroom and shower facilities.
India’s embassy in France has sent respective officials to assist the passengers and investigation committee.