Belarus has released an ATC transcript of the Ryanair B737 diversion incident

May 23 Ryanair’s Boeing 737 was arrested on a MiG-29 fighter jet, transferred to Minsk, and an opposition activist was arrested on arrival.

Flight FR4978 from Athens to Vilnius was “Belarusian ATC reports possible threat on board” and changed course to “Nearest Airport, Minsk” according to a Ryanair report. Roman Protasevičius, a well-known opposition activist and blogger, was arrested on arrival; allegedly on the instructions of the Belarussian government. Reuters said it is on the wanted list after major demonstrations following last year’s election.

The following are excerpts from the transcript which: Reuters could not verify. The call sign of the plane was RYR 1TZ.

The controllers inform the pilot about the bomb, offer to land in Minsk

  • Controller: Minsk
  • Controller: For your information, we have information from special services that you have a bomb and that it can be activated over Vilnius.
    • Pilot: Standby mode.
    • Pilot: Okay, could you repeat the message?
  • Controller: Once again, we have special services information that you have a bomb. That bomb can be activated over Vilnius.
    • Pilot: Roger, standby.
  • Controller: For security reasons, we recommend dropping UMMS. (ICAO code for Minsk Airport)
    • Pilot: Okay … that..understood, give us alternatives please.
    • Pilot: Bomb …. direct message, where did it come from? Where did you get information about it?
  • ATC: Standby please.
  • ATC: Airport security staff reported receiving email
    • Pilot: Roger, Vilnius airport security staff or from Greece?
  • ATC: This email. The letter was shared with several airports.

The pilot asks for more information

  • Pilot: Again, this recommendation is directed to Minsk, where did it come from? Where did it come from? The company? Did it come from the airport of departure or the authorities of the airport of arrival?
  • Controller: These are our recommendations.
    • Pilot: Can you tell me again?
  • Controller: These are our recommendations.
    • Pilot: (illegible.)
    • Pilot: Did you say your recommendation?

The pilot agrees to land in Minsk

  • Controller: Please advise your decision.
    • Pilot: I need to answer the question: what is the (illegible) green, yellow, or amber, red code.
  • Controller: Standby mode.
  • Controller: They say the code is red.
    • Pilot: Roger, in which case we ask you to go to your current position.
  • Controller: Roger, hold your position, keep the FL390 turns at your discretion.
    • Pilot: We have good discretion in maintaining the FL390 in its current position.
    • Pilot: We declare a state of emergency MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY RYR 1TZ. Our intentions would be directed to Minsk Airport.
  • ATC: RYR 1TZ MAYDAY, Roger. Standby mode for vectors.

Source: Reuters

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