Unknown man calls Vietnam Airlines, threatens to shoot down plane heading to Hà Nội from Japan

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A Vietnam Airlines aircraft. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — An anonymous man called a Vietnam Airlines branch in Japan on Wednesday morning, and said that if a flight heading from Narita (Japan) to Hà Nội did not turn back it would be shot down, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).

Flight VN5311/NRT-HAN departed from Narita (Japan) for Hà Nội at 10:30am (local time) on Wednesday (January 5), with 15 crew members and 47 passengers aboard.

At about 11:10am, the Vietnam Airlines branch in Japan received a phone call from a man who spoke Japanese and claimed to be American.

“Flight VN5311 had better come back to Narita or it will be shot down when passing Tokyo Bay,” the unidentified caller said.

Vietnam Airlines office reported the incident to the Vietnam Airlines Corporation, which forwarded the information to Japanese authorities, the CAAV and agencies of the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security.

The Corporation convened an urgent meeting of its emergency committee and steering sub-committee for counter-terrorism.

The CAAV submitted a report to Minister of Transport Nguyễn Văn Thể and Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh, who is also chairman of the National Civil Aviation Security Committee.

With the approval of the Deputy PM and the Minister of Transport, the head of the CAAV instructed Vietnam Airlines to ask for permission from Japan to divert the flight to Japan’s Fukuoka airport.

The flight safely landed at Fukuoka airport at 1:02pm.

After authorities and police checked the plane, interviewed crew members and passengers, and the flight’s safety was evaluated, it was permitted to leave Fukuoka at 3:48pm for Hà Nội, and landed at Nội Bài International Airport at 6:12pm (Việt Nam time).

The CAAV has reported the incident to competent agencies that will coordinate with the Japanese side to clarify what happened.

The agency said the flight was a B787-868 aircraft. — VNS

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