Plane lands in Mumbai after being held for days in France

A high-stakes drama unfolded as an Airbus A340, carrying 276 passengers from India and operated by Romania-based Legend Airlines, faced a temporary detainment in France amid suspicions of human trafficking. Originally destined for Nicaragua, the aircraft found itself grounded at Vatry airport near Paris, triggering a complex series of events.

Allegations of potential human trafficking surfaced following an anonymous tip, leading to a meticulous investigation and legal deliberations. After days of uncertainty, the plane finally resumed its journey to Mumbai, marking the resolution of a tense situation that began with alarming accusations of trafficking.

Initially carrying 303 passengers, the authorities determined that 276 had voluntarily boarded the flight after thorough examinations. Two individuals were initially detained in France over suspected trafficking involvement but were later released as it became clear that all passengers were on board willingly. Subsequent investigations are now focused on potential violations of immigration laws rather than trafficking.

During the detainment, 25 passengers, including five minors, sought asylum in France. Some passengers were granted release by French courts, allowing the plane to proceed on its journey. The Indian Embassy expressed gratitude for the swift resolution, revealing that the passengers, initially deemed potential trafficking victims, were likely UAE workers intending to travel to Nicaragua as a gateway to the United States or Canada.

Legend Airlines, the airline involved in the incident, operates with only four planes, and its 30 crew members were not detained. French authorities, despite finding no evidence of trafficking, continue to probe potential breaches of immigration laws.

This episode has stirred concerns among humanitarian organizations, notably Secours Catholique-Caritas, questioning the decision to allow the plane to depart amid lingering doubts about the passengers’ status as potential trafficking victims.

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