Plane carrying Indians was detained in France for suspected human trafficking: Report

A file photo of a flight.

New Delhi: A chartered plane carrying 276 passengers, mainly Indians, was stranded in France for four days on suspicions of human trafficking before finally landing in Mumbai in the early hours of Tuesday, PTI reported quoting officials.

The Airbus A340 touched down in Mumbai post 4am after taking off from Vatry airport near Paris around 2:30pm local time.

According to French authorities, the flight originally had 276 passengers heading to Mumbai, with 25 persons, including two minors, expressing a wish for asylum and remaining in France. Two others were detained and presented before a judge, subsequently released and put under assisted witness status, as reported by a French news channel.

Upon arrival at Vatry airport, there were 11 unaccompanied minors among the 303 Indian passengers, as stated by a local official. Stranded passengers were provided with makeshift beds, access to facilities, and meals in the airport hall.

The flight, operated by the Romanian charter company Legend Airlines and bound for Nicaragua, had landed at Vatry for a technical stopover during its journey from Dubai when French authorities intervened.

A judicial investigation into the conditions and purpose of the trip, led by a unit specialising in organised crime, was initiated by French authorities due to suspected human trafficking.

Nicaragua has become a sought-after destination for those seeking asylum in the US. In the fiscal year 2023, 96,917 Indians attempted to enter the US illegally, marking a 51.61% increase from the previous year, according to data from the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Of these attempts, 41,770 were made via the Mexican land border, according to CBP data.

Flights to Nicaragua or other countries with lenient travel document requirements have been colloquially referred to as ‘dunki’ flights.

Click to comment
To Top