Bomb threat grounds SIA flight in Johannesburg

Singapore Airlines Flight SQ 478 was declared safe after it was swept for explosives and allowed to proceed to Cape Town. PHOTO: AFP

A Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight was grounded in Johannesburg’s airport in South Africa on Tuesday following a bomb threat.

The Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) confirmed it received a call from someone claiming that there was a bomb on Singapore Airlines Flight SQ478, which was scheduled to fly from Johannesburg to Cape Town on Tuesday morning.

“The aircraft landed at OR Tambo (International Airport). Emergency services were activated, along with fire and rescue and the South Africa Police Service,” it said.

Acsa added that the police with K-9 units swept through the aircraft, and did not find any bomb.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, a SIA spokesman said: “All 58 passengers and 15 crew disembarked the aircraft safely, and supplementary security checks were conducted. SIA also assisted the authorities with their investigations.”

The aircraft was declared safe. It left Johannesburg at 12.37pm local time and arrived safely in Cape Town at 2.29pm, about five hours behind schedule, the SIA spokesman added.

In October 2022, a 37-year-old American man received a stern warning after claiming that there was a bomb on board an SIA flight from San Francisco to Singapore. He was one of 208 passengers on board SQ33 in September 2022.

His false claim led to the deployment of Republic of Singapore Air Force fighter jets, which escorted the plane to a remote location at Changi Airport.

The Airport Police Division and Special Operations Command’s K-9 Unit, as well as the Singapore Armed Forces’ Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosives Defence Group were mobilised to investigate the threat. This led to more than four hours of delay before passengers could disembark from the plane.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.