Airports authority AENA was quick to deny reports on Thursday from news agency EFE that a passenger plane had ditched into the sea two miles off the Canary Island of Gran Canaria.
A message sent via Twitter by the 112 emergency service in the Canaries raised the alarm, with a report that a passenger plane had landed in the sea two miles off the coast of Gran Canaria.
However, minutes later, Public Works Minister Ana Pastor – who was in the Canary Island of Tenerife meeting with journalists – denied reports of an air crash. At the same time, 112 confirmed that there had been no plane crash and in fact, what had been seen was a ship.
After the initial report of a crash was issued, emergency services sprang into action. A helicopter dispatched to the site confirmed that the object was in fact a boat rather than a plane, despite its appearance from the shore. Airports authority Aena also put into motion its emergency protocol for possible accidents, checking that no planes were unaccounted for on radar screens, and taking into account that the aircraft could have been a light plane with no flight plane.
Two other planes were mobilized, the state body reported, but did not reach the site given that confirmation that the incident was not an air crash had already been received from the helicopter.
Minister Pastor later confirmed that the boat was in fact a barge carrying the wing of an airplane.