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France grounds plane with 303 Indians over trafficking fears – Times of India


French authorities grounded a flight from the United Arab Emirates to Nicaragua carrying 303 Indian passengers after receiving a tip that it could be carrying victims of human trafficking, prosecutors said Friday.
Special investigators are questioning all those aboard and two people are in custody pending further examination, the Paris prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
“French authorities informed us of a plane w/ 303 people, mostly Indian origin, from Dubai to Nicaragua detained on a technical halt at a French airport. Embassy team has reached & obtained consular access. We are investigating the situation, also ensuring wellbeing of passengers,” tweeted the Indian embassy in France.
According to the prosecutor’s office, an anonymous tip signalled that the flight, operated by Romania-based charter company Legend Airlines, was carrying people who could be victims of human trafficking. It was grounded Thursday after it stopped for refuelling in the city of Vatry, east of Paris. The passengers initially remained in the A340 plane but were later transferred to the main hall of the small Vatry airport, where cots were set up for them to stay overnight, the administration for the Marne region said. Investigators from a specialised French organised crime unit, border police and aviation gendarmes are working on the case.
Legend Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A source told AFP the passengers may have planned to travel to Central America in order to attempt illegal entry into the US or Canada.


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