The Paris Prosecutor’s Office reported on Saturday that French authorities had grounded a passenger plane carrying 303 Indian citizens, including 11 unaccompanied minors, at the Vatry airport on suspicion of human trafficking.
The aircraft, which belonged to Romania-based Legend Airlines, was en route from the United Arab Emirates to Nicaragua when it made a supply stop at Vatry airport, about 150 kilometers east of Paris, according to the Prosecutor’s Office. The aircraft was taken by French authorities on December 21 following the arrival of an anonymous tip.
A special French investigation into suspected human trafficking by an organized criminal group resulted in the arrest of two passengers. According to the local government, several others applied for asylum in France. Eleven passengers were placed under special administrative care, according to the prosecution, because they were unaccompanied minors.
The prosecutor stated on Sunday that a decision regarding the next course of action was anticipated overnight. The hearings were suspended in the middle due to a disagreement over the protocol used to prevent the Indians from entering the airport.
The prefecture stated that the French Civil Aviation Authority then started working to secure the required authorization for the aircraft to take off again, to have them in place “no later than Monday morning.”
Attorney Liliana Bakayoko of Legend Airlines told that the airline hoped the aircraft could arrive in Mumbai, India, on Monday “with as many passengers as possible.