Two passengers trapped after ‘bomb threat’ on plane

Henry

Two men were arrested by the Western Cape police on Friday and charged with breaching the Civil Aviation Act when they made statements about a possible security threat on a FlySafair aircraft.

The men were among the passengers on board the plane (flight FA102) which had to be evacuated on Thursday shortly before it was to depart from the Cape Town International Airport to OR Tambo on the East Rand at 17:30.

Brig. Athlenda Mathe, national police spokesperson, says the men apparently made statements to a fellow passenger which are considered “acts of illegal interference with the operation of the aircraft”.

“The men apparently made comments to a passenger that suggested there was a threat on the plane that could potentially jeopardize the safety of passengers and the operation of the plane.”

The crew members were informed of the emissions and emergency measures were put in place.

The police’s dog and bomb unit as well as a special task team were consequently called to the scene.

“The team followed a tactical approach and removed the suspects from the aircraft. Other passengers were removed from the aircraft by the airline,” Mathe said.

“The K9 team and bomb technicians thoroughly searched the plane and found only two rifle scopes that are not declared as dangerous weapons or objects under the Firearms Control Act.”

Mathe says the police want to remind the public that any violent behavior is an offence, including assault or threats – whether physical or verbal – towards any person or which in a case like this also endangers the safety of the aircraft.

“It is also an offense to convey information to passengers or crew members that he or she knows is not the truth. Indecent behaviour, being drunk and behaving violently in any way is also a criminal offence.”

It is not known when the men will appear in court.