An abandoned human foetus was found on a FlySafair flight that was scheduled to take off from Durban at 06:15 on Friday.
On its website, FlySafair said: “FlySafair regrets to inform customers of a delay to flight FA411 this morning from Durban to Johannesburg.
“Upon final checks of the waste management system our teams encountered a finding which requires formal investigation from technical teams and police authorities. The issue which has unfortunately meant that the aircraft would be unable to operate this flight.”
It did not specifically state that the “finding” was a foetus, but passengers tweeted that a human foetus had been found in the plane’s waste management system.
Airports Company South Africa spokesperson, Colin Naidoo, told East Coast Radio that police were on the scene.
“We can confirm that a foetus was found on an aircraft and it is a police matter,” Naidoo reportedly said.
Kirby Gordon, head of sales and distribution at FlySafair, told newsmen on Friday morning that he also understood that a foetus had been found.
“Police are investigating and the plane should be released to us soon.”
According to Gordon, all affected passengers had since been accommodated on other flights.
“At this stage we are unable to comment on the finding other than to say that the relevant authorities were immediately alerted and are performing a thorough investigation. FlySafair will do anything we can to assist them in their efforts,” the company said in a statement.
“Our teams are working with the relevant parties to initiate a backup plan. At this stage we are evaluating the time required to initiate necessary repairs versus deploying a new aircraft.”
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said in a statement: “We can confirm a foetus was found in a toilet by cleaning staff inside [an] aircraft at an international airport earlier [on Friday] morning. A case of concealment of birth is [being] investigated by King Shaka Airport SAPS.”