SINGAPORE: A 37-year-old male passenger was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly making a hoax bomb threat on board a plane travelling from San Francisco to Changi Airport, which forced the Singapore Air Force to scramble two fighter jets, a media report said.
The two fighter jets escorted the Singapore Airlines plane until it landed safely at Changi Airport at 5:50 am local time, CNN reported.
“Earlier today, two of our F16C/Ds were activated to escort a Singapore Airlines flight that departed San Francisco for Singapore. This was because of a suspected bomb threat on board the aircraft,” the Singapore Air Force said. “Our fighters escorted the airliner till it landed safely at Changi Airport.”
The report said teams from the army’s chemical, biological, radiological and explosives defence group and airport police division were on site to verify the claim. Defence Ministry officials, who discovered the bomb threat to be false, said the army was “mobilised immediately.”
According to Singapore’s public state broadcaster Channel NewsAsia, the flight lasted 16 hours and 25 minutes and landed at Changi Airport without delay.
The preliminary investigation indicated the male passenger had claimed that there was a bomb in a hand-carry bag and had assaulted the crew. The airline said in a statement that the passenger had been “subsequently restrained on board” the flight and was handed over to airport police.
“The safety of our customers and staff is always our top priority,” the airline said. Singapore Airlines, the country’s national carrier, is often regarded as one of the safest airlines in the world.
In 2019, a woman and her child, travelling from Mumbai to Singapore, were held for questioning after the pilot raised a bomb threat alert.
The year before that, a male passenger claimed he had a bomb in his bag, which caused the flight to make a U-turn as air force fighter jets scrambled to escort it. He was fined $4,500 for using threatening words to cause public alarm. (ANI)