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Greek Pilots Intercepted Passenger Liner in False Alarm Hijack Alert

ATHENS – The Greek Air Force had to scramble two F-16’s to intercept a Middle East Airline aircraft bound from Madrid to Lebanon, with 145 passengers on board, after the pilot didn’t respond, setting off fears of a hijack.

A Code Renegade signal alerted Greek authorities, said Greek media and an aircraft tracker, reported Middle East Eye, before it was determined that the commercial airliner pilot wasn’t on the right frequency for contact.

The incident just now reported happened on Aug. 10 with the alarm going off a distress signal that also alerted the NATO air control center in Torrejon, Spain, the plane then over Greece which sent up two F-16’s to check on it.

Despite a reported number of attempts to talk to the pilot there wasn’t any response on the radio, raising the alarm worry before the commercial jet was spotted over Argolida in the northeastern Peloponnese.

The two Greek fighter jets made a mid-air encounter with the unresponsive aircraft and maded contact with the pilot and determined that there were no problems, the reports about the flight added.

The Lebanon-based aircraft tracker InterSky said that the pilot, Abed al-Hout, son of the chairman of the board of directors of Middle East Airlines, Mohammed al-Hout, must have forgotten to turn the instruments to the correct frequency and missed calls from Greek authorities.

Libnanews also reported that Mohamed al-Hout has previously been subject to criticism after placing relatives at different levels of the company.

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