Bomb threat on AirAsia flight; plane landed safely in Phuket: Official

An AirAsia plane is seen on the runway at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on 19, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
An AirAsia plane is seen on the runway at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on 19, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A deputy director of Phuket International Airport said there was a bomb threat on Tuesday on a plane operated by AirAsia, which later landed safely at the airport.

Kanputt Mungklasisi said his office had filed a complaint with police after a caller claimed there was an explosive on AirAsia Flight 3003 that left Bangkok for Phuket.

Kanputt was speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday after chairing a meeting of security officials as well as navy officers about the bomb threat.

Initial investigation showed the threat was highly likely to have been aimed at creating a disturbance and the caller could have been an insider or employee of companies operating inside the airport.

Kanputt said the caller may have been affected by new measures at the airport.

He added that the investigation would take into consideration that Thai national soccer players were among the passengers of the flight. The team, led by coach Kiatisak Senamuang, is scheduled to play warm-up matches against Myanmar, Phuket Football Club and Qatar in preparation for the Asian Games in South Korea.

Security measures at the Phuket airport will be strengthened, including checking on individuals and items, to ease concerns among the public including tourists.

The bomb threat was made after the flight left Don Mueang International Airport on Tuesday. Phuket Airport received the call at 12.10pm.

After the plane landed, the Phuket Airport authorities initiated emergency procedures including parking the aircraft in an isolated area, evacuating the 168 passengers and searching their luggage.

As a precaution, the return flight of the Airbus A330-200 from Phuket to Don Mueang was delayed from 12.50pm to 3.08pm.

Kanputt's comments contradicted that of his director, Pratuang Sornkam, who said on Tuesday that the so-called bomb threat on the AirAsia flight was only an emergency drill that nobody had been informed about.

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