A woman being deported to Berlin was accidentally placed on a plane to Moscow last week, El Al admitted.
The airline and the immigration police are investigating the incident.
Officials at Ben-Gurion Airport had accompanied the woman to the passenger terminal and escorted her onto a Moscow-bound plane, even though she was meant to be deported to Berlin. Moments before takeoff, when the staff realized the passenger was not on the flight to Berlin, airport officials were alerted to the error.
Neither the immigration authorities escorting the woman nor the flight crew on the Moscow-bound jet realized the mishap, even though the passenger was carrying a boarding pass for the El Al flight to Germany.
The El Al flight attendants are also being probed since all deportations are coordinated with the airline in advance. In this case, the woman was led to a Moscow-bound flight operated by a different airline.
“The passenger came from the immigration police station onto the airplane, while being escorted by two representatives of the Oz immigration unit,” El Al said in a statement. “The Oz unit members boarded the plane and informed the flight crew that this was the flight the passenger was meant to be on.
Once the mistake was noted, the passenger was removed from the [Moscow-bound] plane and transferred to the flight she was supposed to be on.
“This is an unusual event that does not reflect the manner in which such cases are usually handled. The event is being investigated in conjunction with all the relevant officials in the process, including the Israel Airports Authority and the Oz unit,” it said.
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