RSAF Fighter Jets Escorted an SIA Flight After Man Made Bomb Threat in Plane

When you’re seated on an airplane, air turbulence is enough to send you into a momentary panic.

But when someone threatens that they have a bomb in their carry-on bag?

It is time to put on your seatbelts and pray.

The Sequence of Events

SQ33, a Singapore Airlines (SA) flight from San Francisco to Singapore, took off on 10:26pm on Monday with 209 passengers and 17 crew.

Mid-flight, the police was informed of an alleged bomb threat at around 2:40am on Wednesday.

Two F16C/Ds fighter jets were immediately activated to escort SQ33 to Changi Airport.

SQ33 landed at Changi Airport at around 5:50am on Wednesday.

The aircraft was then taxied to a remote area of the airport for security checks.

“Teams from the Singapore Army’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosives Defence Group and Airport Police Division were on site to verify the claims. The threat was subsequently verified to be false,” said the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) on Facebook.

The 37-year-old suspect, who is a foreign national, has been arrested.

Once the security checks were completed, the airplane was brought to Changi Airport Terminal 3.

The police stated that preliminary investigations indicate that the male suspect had purportedly claimed that was a bomb in a hand-carry bag, and he attacked the crew.

“He was restrained by the crew, and subsequently arrested by the police under Regulations 8(1) and United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) Regulations and for suspected consumption of controlled drugs,” said the police.

Investigations are underway.

The Passengers

The passengers only appeared at the terminal around 9:20am. They were ushered away from their original belt to another place to collect their luggage.

One of the passengers told The Straits Times that she was unaware of the bomb threat, though she knew about the fighter jet escorts.

She also said that the passengers were aware that something was different about this situation, whereby it was not just the matter of someone being “drunk and disorderly”.

Another passenger even posted pictures of the fighter jets from the aircraft and tweeted: “I thought someone important just arrived and didn’t know it was us!”

After the aircraft touched down, the passengers had to sit on the tarmac for more than three hours.

An airline spokesman apologised to all the affected passengers for the inconvenience caused on behalf of Singapore Airlines. The airline will lend their assistance to the customers who may have missed their onward connections and need to rebook their flights.

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Under Regulation 8(1) of the UN (Anti-Terrorism Measures) Regulations, it is a crime to make false claims that a terrorist act has been, is being, or will be carried out.

Those found guilty can be punished with a fine not exceeding $500,000 or for a maximum jail term of 10 years, or both.

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Featured Image: Facebook (Ministry of Defence)