Passengers arrested after bomb hoax grounds plane in Sanya
An airplane passenger was detained after he falsely claimed a bomb was on a plane about to take off from an airport in Hainan province on Sunday night, according to police.
The 34-year-old suspect, surnamed Yu, claimed there was a bomb on the JD5168 flight at about 8.30pm on Sunday. The plane had moved onto the runway and was preparing to travel from Sanya in Hainan to Guangzhou in Guangdong province, said Luo Jia, an officer at the publicity department of Sanya public security bureau.
Yu works at a company in Shenzhen, Guangdong. Five other people travelling with him were also detained by police, said Luo.
Yu apparently told the police that he had lied when claiming he took a bomb on the plane, Luo said.
The plane had 172 passengers, including Yu, on board. All of the passengers were safe, he said.
Stewardess Guan Zhengya said when she checked the seats, a man sitting in row 29 told her: "There is a bomb here, really a bomb here".
Guan’s account was recounted on the micro blog of HNA Capital Airlines’, which operates the flight.
According to the micro-blog post, Guan told the suspect, who appeared serious, that he should not be joking about such issues, and then reported the matter to the head crew member. The situation was then reported to the captain.
The captain requested passengers pay close attention to closely watch the suspect, and the plane was taken back to the parking area reserved for safety concerns.
The airport initiated an emergency response, with the cabin cleared and all passengers and their luggage rechecked.
The emergency status ended at 10:14 pm after security workers failed to find any suspicious materials on the plane.
The airline company transferred the remaining passengers to another flight, which flew to Guangzhou about 12 pm on Monday morning.
A Sanya Phoenix International Airport publicity staff member named Li said on Tuesday that even though nobody was physically harmed, it is a serious matter, and the suspect should be punished if found guilty.
The police are still investigating the case and the motive of the suspect remained unclear, Luo said.
Airline safety issues have been in the spotlight in recent days, with reports of several threats to airlines.
Two Chinese passengers fought each other on a flight from Saipan to Shanghai on Friday for reasons that remain unknown, according to a report in Shanghai Morning Post.
The conflict escalated when some of their friends joined in the fight. Crew members managed to quell the fighting after about a minute, said the report.
A publicity official from Sichuan Airlines that runs the flight, said that the plane did not turn around because the passengers were brought under control.
In a separate case, two Chinese passengers, aged 57 and 27, fought each other on a Swiss International Airlines flight on Sept 2. The plane, bound for Beijing, had to return to Zurich six hours after takeoff.
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