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Prank Call Causes Australian Aircraft To Abort Landing

Travelers Today       By    Nicole Ynayan

Updated: Nov 09, 2016 03:18 AM EST

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - Australian officials are currently investigating fifteen separate hoax calls made to the aircraft pilots in Melbourne and Avalon. The occurrences of these calls resulted in the aborted landing of at least one passenger aircraft.

According to a report by ABC News Australia, the failed landing occurred on October 27, 2016 at around 5:00 p.m. Virgin Australia flight 740 was forced to change course and abort its landing in Melbourne when an unauthorized person transmitted false instructions.

In a separate incident, another hoax caller caused false alarm by impersonating a light aircraft pilot. In an audio file acquired by ABC news, the impersonator issued a mayday due to engine failure. After twenty seconds, air traffic control issued a broadcast to ignore the transmission, deeming it malicious.

On Monday night, Australian federal police stated that the hoax calls were considered "unlawful interferences with air traffic control broadcasts over several weeks." The calls in question were transmitted to both aircrafts and the Air Traffic Services Center in Melbourne.

According to The Guardian, Virgin Australia's public relations representatives have been instructed against making comments due to the matter's ongoing investigation. However, police have stated that there is no impending threat on travellers.

The acting assistant commissioner of the AFP has stated that police investigation is currently being supported by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. The AFP has also stated that all airlines have received proper briefing to ensure that the appropriate measures are to be followed.

Australia's air traffic control and navigation authorities have announced that passenger safety was not under threat during any point of the hoax operations. However, they have issued public announcements, requesting public cooperation in the location of the prank callers.

The unauthorized transmissions on private and government channels are marked as criminal offences under the Radio Communications Act. These acts may garner jail terms of a maximum of 20 years.

The Australian government has urged anyone with knowledge regarding the matter to step forward. Reports may be made via the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1800-333-000.

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australian aircraft, hoax call, hoax call australia, abort landing australia, virgin australia, virgin airlines australia, melbourne airport, australian aircraft aborts landing, Australian airline
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