France seizes plane carrying 303 Indians suspecting human trafficking


French authorities have grounded a passenger plane carrying 303 Indian citizens, including 11 non-accompanied minors, at the airport of Vatry, as they suspected human trafficking, the Paris Prosecutor’s Office told CNN on Saturday.

The plane, which belonged to Legend Airlines, a company based in Romania, was on its way from the United Arab Emirates to Nicaragua and had stopped over at Vatry airport, which is roughly 150 kilometers east of Paris, for supply.

Apparently, the French authorities were anonymously tipped which led them to seize the vessel on December 21.


The plane was chartered by a company registered outside European Union and Legend Airlines did not participate into its ticket sale, said the airline’s lawyer Liliana Bakayoko.

“The cabin crew have all been questioned and have been let go freely,” Bakayoko said. He further added that the company that chartered the plane had been a loyal client of the airlines, and has earlier chartered several flights before.

The airlines has refused to identify the company citing ongoing investigations.

Under French law, human trafficking is punishable with prison terms of up to 20 years and fines of up to $3.3 million (3 million euros).