Three Algerians are on the run in Italy after sliding down the emergency exits of a plane while it was preparing for take-off at Rome airport.
The three men forced open the emergency exit of an Alitalia passenger plane at the city's main Fiumicino airport late on Wednesday night.
'The plane was taxi-ing towards the runway when the passengers forced open a door and slid down the slides that were activated, and escaped,' an Alitalia spokesman said. The men are still missing.
The plane was immediately grounded and police were called to the scene.
The three Algerians had departed from Algiers and had one-way tickets to Istanbul after a layover in Rome, the spokesman said.
They had earlier been denied entry to Italy, along with 18 other Algerians, according to media reports.
Up to 500 Algerians may have absconded from the airport last year, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.
Last week, a huge fire at Fiumicino airport partially destroyed a terminal and led to many flight delays and cancellations.