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Plane Grounded in France Over Trafficking Suspicion Finally Takes Off

The majority of the passengers are believed to be Indian citizens working in the UAE.

After being held for four days at Châlons-Vatry Airport in France due to suspicions of human trafficking, a chartered Airbus A340 carrying about 275 Indian nationals has finally taken off. The flight, which originated from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and was bound for Nicaragua, had made a stopover in France for refueling when it was grounded.

The Legend Airlines flight with 303 people on board had faced delays after French authorities received an anonymous tip suggesting that some passengers might be victims of human trafficking. The plane, en route to Mumbai, had been prevented from leaving Châlons-Vatry Airport, located around 130 km (81 miles) from Paris.

Two individuals on board were taken into custody, and some passengers sought asylum in France, according to sources. The majority of the passengers are believed to be Indian citizens working in the UAE.

The Legend Airlines flight finally resumed its journey after authorities presumably determined that no crime was committed. However, it remains unclear why the plane is heading to Mumbai instead of continuing its original route to Nicaragua.

Human Rights League President Patrick Baudouin, speaking to French TV, stated, “At this stage, we’re still unsure. Was this a tip which it turns out was completely inappropriate, or is there a real crime behind this?”

Legend Airlines, identified as a Romanian charter airline with a fleet of four planes according to the online flight tracker Flightradar, had faced significant disruptions due to the grounding of the Airbus A340 in France. The incident has raised questions about the reliability of tip-offs and the need for thorough investigations to avoid unwarranted disruptions to air travel.

Kiki Garba

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