Two Israelis under investigation for setting fire on KLM flight

Monday, April 16th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ Two Israelis were in jail Monday on suspicion of setting a fire in the restroom of a KLM plane, causing the captain to abort the flight to Tel Aviv before liftoff.

Police investigating the Sunday incident took four people off the flight, but released two of them Sunday night. The other two, Israelis aged 26 and 27, remained at a jail near Schiphol airport.

``We don't have a motive,'' police spokesman Rob Stenacter said. ``But we don't think it was an accident.''

The suspects could appear before a judge on Wednesday, he said.

The pilot aborted takeoff when a fire indicator light came on, just as the aircraft was building speed on the runway. The plane, carrying 225 passengers and about 10 crew, returned to the gate.

Firefighters boarded the aircraft but didn't find any indication of a fire. But 15 minutes later a flight attendant saw smoke coming from one of the restrooms, and passengers were evacuated on the emergency chutes.

One person was slightly injured.