Israel flight to Turkey returns to gate after terrifying AirDrop incident, nine arrested

AirDrop on iOS 14
AirDrop on iOS 14 (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Nine passengers have been arrested after a terrifying AirDrop incident on a flight in Israel.
  • A plane departing from Tel Aviv returned to its gate after 166 passengers were sent harrowing images of aviation disasters including plane crashes.
  • The plane took off hours later after security had checked the plane.

Nine passengers have been arrested after a plane in Tel Aviv was forced to return to its stand because hundreds of passengers were sent harrowing images of plane crashes via AirDrop.

According to multiple reports, passengers at Ben Gurion Airport were sent images by AirDrop as their AndoluJet flight to Istanbul began to taxi to the runway, prompting mass panic and forcing the pilots to return to the stand so security could check the plane.

From Reuters:

A taxiing plane returned to the gate at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday after photos of aviation disasters popped up on passengers' phones - sent, Israeli authorities believe, by nine people on board using the iPhone "AirDrop" function.

A spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority confirmed the incident was not a cyberattack, and that nine suspects had been arrested by police. They were described as Israeli citizens and "among the passengers." The spokesperson further confirmed that Apple's AirDrop feature on the iPhone was used to disseminate the image, reportedly to 166 passengers according to one local radio broadcaster.

At least one passenger fainted and another had a panic attack, according to the report.

All passengers and their baggage were taken off the plane for additional security checks, and the plane took off hours later than intended. If prosecuted and found guilty, the perpetrators could face up to three years in prison for disseminating false information.

The report echoes a similar indicent last year where a teenager caused a plan in san Francisco to be evacuated after sending a photo of an airsoft gun via AirDrop.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9