The Belarusian Transport Ministry has published a transcript of part of the conversation between the Belarusian dispatcher and the crew of the Ryanair plane that was forced to land in Minsk on May 23.
According to the document, at 9:30 a.m. local time on Sunday, May 23, a dispatcher from the Minsk airport informed the Ryanair pilot that according to “information from [the] special services” there was a bomb on board the plane that could be detonated over Vilnius.
The dispatcher goes on to say that “several airports” received the email about the alleged bomb and advises the pilot to divert to Minsk for an emergency landing for “security reasons.”
The pilot then asks whether the recommendation to land in Minsk came from Ryanair, the “departure airport authorities” (Athens), or the “arrival airport authorities” (Vilnius). “This is our recommendation,” the dispatcher replies.
The transcript ends at 9:57 a.m., after the pilot and the dispatcher discuss the technical parameters for landing.
Full transcript (original spelling retained)
Pilot: 09:28:58 Minsk, Good day, RYR 1TZ, FL390 approaching SOMAT
ATC:09:29:04 RYR 1TZ, Minsk Control, good afternoon, radar contact.
ATC: 09:30:49 RYR 1TZ, Minsk
Pilot: Yes, go ahead.
ATC: RYR 1TZ for your information, we have information from special services that you have bomb on board and it can be activated over Vilnius.
Pilot: 1TZ Standby.
Pilot. 09:31:17: Ok RYR 1TZ could you repeat the message?
ATC: RYR 1TZ, I say again we have information from special services that you have bomb on board. That bomb can be activated over Vilnius.
Pilot: Roger that, standby.
ATC: 09:31:42: RYR 1TZ for security reason we recommend you to land at UMMS.
Pilot: Ok…that.it.understood give us alternate please.
Pilot:09:32:59: RYR 1TZ
ATC: RYR 1TZ
Pilot: The bomb…direct message, where did it come from? Where did you have information about it from?
ATC: RYR 1TZ stanby please.
ATC: 09:33:42: RYR 1TZ
Pilot: Go ahead.
ATC: RYR 1TZ airport security stuff informed they received e-mail.
Pilot: Roger, Vilnius airport security stuff or from Greece?
ATC: RYR 1TZ this e-mail was shared to several airports.
Pilot: Roger, standby.
Pilot:09:34:49: Radar, RYR 1TZ.
ATC: RYR 1TZ.
Pilot: Could you give us frequency for (unreadable) company so that we would be able to (unreadable).
ATC: RYR 1TZ say again what frequency do you need.
Pilot: We just need to quawk with the operation of the company, if there any frequency for that (unreadable).
ATC. Do you need RYR operation frequency?
Pilot: That is correct 1TZ.
ATC: Standby please.
ATC: RYR 1TZ ,Standby please
Pilot:09:39:30: RYR 1TZ Any adverts?
ATC: RYR 1TZ Standby, waiting for the information.
Pilot: Could you say again that I have to call for the airport that authorities … (unreadable) to divert to.
ATC: RYR 1TZ I read you THREE, say again please.
Pilot:09:39:57: Radar, RYR 1TZ .
ATC : RYR 1TZ ,Go.
Pilot: Can you say again the IATA code of the airport that authorities recommended us to divert to?
ATC: RYR 1TZ roger, standby please.
Pilot: OK, I give you (unreadable) can you say again IATA code of the airport that authorities have recommended us to divert to?
ATC: RYR 1TZ Standby.
Pilot: Standby, Roger.
ATC :09:41:00: RYR 1TZ .
Pilot: Go ahead.
ATC: IATA code is MSQ.
Pilot: can you say again please?
ATC:IATA code MSQ.
Pilot: MSQ, thanks.
Pilot: 09:41:58: RYR 1TZ Again, this recommendation to divert to Minsk where did it come from?Where did it come from?Company? Did it come from departure airport authorities or arrival airport authorities?
ATC: RYR 1TZ this is our recommendations.
Pilot: can you say again?
ATC: RYR 1TZ this is our recommendations.
Pilot : unreadable.
Pilot:Did you say that your recommendation?
ATC: RYR 1TZ , Charlie-Charlie.
ATC: 09.42.49: RYR 1TZ we have ground stuff frequency for Vilnius 131.750
Pilot. 131.75 and we have contact… (unreadable).
ATC:09:44:38 RYR 1TZ advise your decision please?
Pilot: Radar ,RYR 1TZ
ATC:RYR 1TZ advise your decision please.
Pilot; 09:44:52: I need answer the question what is the code of the (unreadable) green, yellow or amber red.
ATC:09:45:09 RYR 1TZ they say code is red.
Pilot: Roger that, in that case we request holding at present position.
ATC: RYR 1TZ Roger, hold over your position, mantain FL390 turns at own discretion.
Pilot; Ok holding at our discretion at present position mantaining FL390 RYR 1TZ.
Pilot:09:47:12: RYR 1TZ we are declaring an emergency MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY RYR 1TZ. our intentions would be to divert to Minsk airport
ATC: RYR 1TZ MAYDAY, Roger.Standby for vectors.
Pilot: Standby RYR 1TZ .
Pilot: 09:48:10 RYR 1TZ request descent to 10000 feet.
ATC: RYR 1TZ , descend FL100.
Pilot: descend (unreadable) RYR 1TZ .
ATC:RYR 1TZ from present position cleared direct point KOLOS : Kilo Oscar Lima Oskar Sierra.
Pilot: Direct to KOLOS RYR 1TZ.
ATC:09:50:15 RYR 1TZ how do you read me?
Pilot: I read you 5 RYR 1TZ .
ATC:09:50:24: RYR 1TZ do you need any aerodrome details and weather information?
Pilot : We can (unreadable)ATIS from Minsk …enough.
ATC: RYR 1TZ do you need ATIS frequency?
Pilot: We got it.09:It is 128.850, 1 TZ.
ATC:09:51:50: RYR 1TZ
Pilot: 1TZ , go ahead.
ATC: RYR 1TZ KOLOS 2H arrival, RW in use 31R and if you need vectors advise.
Pilot: Ok, KOLOS. could you say the (unreadable).
ATC: KOLOS 2H arrival.
Pilot: KOLOS 2H arrival, RW 31R, RYR 1TZ
ATC: And ATIS frequency is 128.850
ATC:09:52:29: RYR 1TZ and advise passengers on board and if any dangerous goods on board.
Pilot: No dangerous goods, standby…and we need 130 to avoid.
Pilot:09:53:00 RYR 1TZ turning heading 130 to avoid.
ATC: RYR 1TZ roger heading 130 report clear of weather.
Pilot :09:54:45: RYR 1TZ persons on board is 133.
ATC: Persons on board 133 copied thank you.
ATC:09:55:33 RYR 1TZ when ready report estimating time of arrival.
Pilot: 09:56:48: RYR 1TZ request descend 9000 feet.
ATC: RYR 1TZ descend FL90.
Pilot. Descend FL90, RYR 1TZ .
ATC: 09:57:12: RYR 1TZ now contact Minsk approach on 125.9.
Pilot: 125.9, RYR 1TZ
On May 23, a Ryanair passenger flight travelling from Athens to Vilnius was forced to make an emergency landing at the Minsk National Airport. This took place following reports from the Belarusian authorities of a bomb threat on board the flight (this later proved false). Belarus sent an MiG-29 fighter jet to escort the passenger plane to Minsk.
After the landing, the Belarusian authorities detained two passengers from the plane — Belarusian opposition journalist Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega, who is a Russian citizen. The remaining passengers from the flight were allowed to continue their journey to Vilnius after a seven-hour delay. Many European countries believe the Belarusian authorities hijacked the passenger plane in order to arrest Protasevich.
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Meduza is you.
We’re only here thanks to you.