Spanish police had on Saturday rounded up 11 people who fled a plane following an emergency landing that prompted Mallorca to close its airport, in what appeared to be an elaborate scheme by would-be migrants.
At least nine people are believed to be at large after the flight from Morocco to Turkey landed at Palma de Mallorca airport, one of Spain’s busiest, on Friday evening.
“So far, 11 people have been found by the police and civil guard officers,” said a spokeswoman for the government delegation on the islands said.
“A passenger apparently suffered a diabetic coma and was taken by ambulance to hospital with a companion,” a police statement said early on Saturday.
“As the evacuation was taking place, around 20 passengers ran out onto the runway.”
Police and civil guard officers immediately began searching for the escapees, paralysing activity at the airport which only resumed activity at around midnight, Spain’s AENA airport authority said.
Meanwhile at the hospital, the allegedly ill passenger was found to be in perfect health and discharged, with police arresting him for “facilitating illegal immigration”.
His companion was nowhere to be found, they said.
According to aircraft tracker FlightRadar24, the plane was an Air Arabia Maroc Airbus A320 flying between Casablanca and Istanbul.
During the incident, 13 planes bound for Palma were rerouted to other airports, and 16 departing flights suffered significant delays, AENA said.