Flight delayed at OR Tambo to remove alleged car thief from aircraft

A flight destined for Harare was delayed on Wednesday afternoon to remove an alleged car thief from the aircraft.

The aircraft, almost ready to depart, was towed back to the parking bay after all necessary protocols were adhered to.

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Brig Vishnu Naidoo, police spokesperson, said during a joint operation between the police and aviation safety staff at OR Tambo International Airport the passenger was removed at around 3pm.

Naidoo said two detectives alerted international airport aviation safety officers of a vehicle theft suspect that was on a flight to Harare that needed to be stopped. The suspect has been sought since 2014 and had been put on a watch list. It is alleged he rented a vehicle and never returned it.

“The airport aviation safety officers managed to make contact with the airline through the airport management centre. An airport aviation safety officer, together with police detectives boarded the aircraft and the suspect was subsequently arrested.”

This arrest came after at least five other successes in the past few weeks.

The team tasked with this intervention, led by Maj-Gen Dimakatso Ndaba, who was appointed SAPS commander at the airport less than a month ago, is showing great determination, Naidoo said.

“These successes are the result of the intensified cooperation between the South African Police Service, Ekurhuleni Metro, airport management of OR Tambo International Airport and other law enforcement agencies and government departments, which form an integral part of this plan. Ensuring there are no obstacles to cooperation among ourselves is a major element of our strategy, and this case shows that we are better able to respond to criminal threats,” Naidoo added.

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