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WestJet Flight to Puerto Vallarta Sparks Hijack Rumors

WestJet Flight 2154 from Vancouver to Puerto Vallarta arrived safely Saturday afternoon after reported an unusual transmission code was sent indicating the airplane had been hijacked.

Shortly after 6:30 PM EST, when received the code, a surge of panic swept across Twitter and other social networks reporting Flight 2154 had been hijacked.

WestJet, based in Calgary, said in a Twitter post that “contrary to Internet rumor, air traffic control has confirmed #WS2154 is ‘squawking’ standard transponder code, not 7500.” The 7500 code indicates a hijacking. Flight 2154 originated in Vancouver.

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“Captain confirms by phone that #WS2154 has arrived safely at its destination,” the airline said in another post. “The crew did not squawk ‘7500’ as reported.”

The scare was taken seriously with the ongoing issue in Paris and terrorist attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which prompted an increase in the threat alert in Europe and the US.

Mexico’s Civil Aviation Authority reported no unusual activity or reports of any distress signals from the airline.