BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:20 P.M.) – A passenger on the Mahan Air flight that was intercepted by the U.S. military on Thursday detailed the incident in an interview with Russia’s Sputnik News Agency on Saturday.
The passenger, Fatima Hamdan, told Sputnik that “at seven o’clock, we were over Syria, and suddenly a warplane approached us, to the point that it approached close and not as they claim it was a kilometer away. This is not true. It approached close and when I turned to get the camera to film the plane, suddenly a sound appeared and our plane dropped sharply in the air. Unfortunately, everyone was not wearing a belt because we were not at the time of wearing the belts, so all the passengers flew from their places.”
Hamdan said after the first plane intercepted the Iranian aircraft, a second U.S. warplane appeared and began to conduct different maneuvers.
“A sound was heard and we did not know its source and so dropped down. This sound caused great terror to the passengers, especially those with children. It was an abnormal provocative method. Unfortunately, the passengers experienced a state of panic and terror, and they were also hurt because we did not take protective measures, because we were not expecting this to happen, and we thank God that he greeted us, and the captain of the plane absorbed the matter and acted quickly. ”
“After the sharp drop in the air, the staff asked if there were doctors or nurses on board to help the wounded, and among the passengers on the plane were medical students studying in Iran who had helped the wounded,” Hamdan said, noting that many passengers suffered from nervous breakdowns.
Hamdan continued: “There were many wounded, there are people who flew from their seats while I fled from my seat, and there are people who hit their head on the roof of the plane, most of the injuries to the head and back, and the hosts and flight attendants were severely affected by the impact of the sharp landing.”
She noted that the interception of the two planes in the air ranged between 3 and 4 minutes, and Hamdan confirmed that the Iranian plane landed very smoothly at Beirut airport.
Multiple Iranian and American sources said Thursday evening that two American fighters intercepted the Mahan passenger plane while carrying out a flight from Tehran to Beirut, in Syria’s airspace.
But the U.S. Central Command (Centcom) later said that only one F-15 fighter belonging to the U.S. Air Force escorted the Iranian passenger plane from a distance of one kilometer, according to international standards.