Bomb threat came on disposable cup
A Styrofoam cup on which were written the words “Bomb in the cargo and at 64E” triggered a high security alert for a Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight from Los Angeles Thursday morning.
Throughout the incident, no one of the 330 passengers on flight PR 130 was aware of the threat until they deplaned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 1.
Aviation Security Unit–National Capital Region investigators told the Inquirer the cup had been placed inside the mirror closet in one of the lavatories, presumably by a passenger.
Aviation Security Group (Avsegroup) spokesperson Chief Insp. Samuel Hojilla said in a report that the Manila-bound aircraft was at mid-flight when a cabin crew member found the cup while conducting a routine supply check of the lavatories.
Hojilla said the flight attendant immediately informed her supervisor who reported the threat to the flight’s co-pilot, Capt. Willy Brandt Querubin.
The threat was communicated to PAL’s station control which sought assistance from Avsegroup.
An investigator said the cabin crew members were very discreet about the threat as they approached the passenger in seat 64E.
“They asked the passenger to momentarily vacate the seat for a quick search but did not say why to avoid panic,” the prober said.
As soon as the aircraft landed at Naia and parked at Bay 10 at around 5 a.m., the Avsegroup Special Operations Unit, sniffer dogs and the Manila International Airport Authority’s fire rescue and division were at the ready.
The passengers were deplaned before bomb detection operations were conducted in the aircraft and on all the baggage which were laid out on the tarmac for a run-through by the K9 units.
At 7 a.m., the Avsegroup gave the all-clear and the bomb threat was declared a hoax.
“It is a dangerous thing to do. Pulling pranks like this is stupid,” said an Avseu-NCR investigator, adding that they were still working on identifying the culprit.
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