Audio: Air traffic control intercepts detail F-16 escort of Northwest Amsterdam turn-back flight

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Amateur radio scanners in the Netherlands have released audio intercepts of the air traffic control conversations during the Northwest Airlines incident yesterday, during which an on-board alert forced a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 to return to Amsterdam Schiphol airport escorted by two Royal Netherlands air force fighters.

Northwest flight 42 had taken off from Schiphol at 10:25 bound for Mumbai on the second leg of a flight from Minneapolis St Paul when the pilot requested a return to the KLM hub. The aircraft had reached the German border before turning back at around 11:00 and requesting a security escort as the behaviour of passengers was considered suspect.

The audio files, captured by ham radio enthusiasts at the Frequency Monitor Centre, detail much of the air traffic control over the period of the incident. From 11:10 onwards Northwest 42 dumped fuel over the IJsselmeer region and by 11:19 it had been intercepted by two Lockheed Martin F-16s from Leeuwarden air base, which had on excercise in the area.

Twelve men were arrested once the aircraft touched down. Amsterdam police says it cannot disclose the nationalities or the nature of the allegations against them. It has been reported that the passengers had been trying to use mobile telephones, passing them among themselves, while the aircraft was taking off.

The audio clip, from Frequency Monitor's Centre's site should appear in the box below. Click this link if the player does not appear.

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