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A language teacher in Phuket faces up to five years in jail and a fine of up to B200,000 for making a false bomb threat on an AirAsia aircraft about to take off from Phuket International Airport yesterday morning (May22).
The pilot on board AirAsia Flight FD3002 aborted takeoff after he was told of the risk of a bomb being on board the plane.
Ms Phanarat Nopphakhun, 38, was taken into custody after she reportedly told a flight attendant on AirAsia Flight FD3002 that she had two water bottles stowed in her luggage in the undercarriage.
“Water can be a bomb, you know,” she reportedly told the attendant.
Flight FD3002 was scheduled to take off at 8:40am, bound for Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok.
The plane was taxiing toward the runway when the attendant informed the pilot, who brought the aircraft to a swift halt on the tarmac.
Passengers were evacuated from the aircraft, which was then moved a safe distance from the main terminal.
The bomb squad was called in to search the plane. Explosive Ordnance Disposal officers also had all the luggage hauled off the aircraft and searched, and they searched the passengers’ carry-on bags.
No explosives were found.
Ms Phanarat told police that she had told the flight attendant there was a bomb on the plane because she felt that the luggage inspectors at the airport were rude to her when they inspected her bag.
Ms Phanarat and her companion Swiss national Walter Jurn Leisinger, 60, were taken to the nearby Tha Chat Chai Police Station for questioning.
Police confirmed that she has been charged over the incident. If found guilty, she may face years of jail time and a fine of up to B200,000.
Once cleared for takeoff, the passengers re-boarded Flight FD3002, which left Phuket at 10:47am.