Air India plane searched at Bangkok airport after bomb threats

Bangkok, Mar 16, 2016, PTI: An Air India flight from Delhi to Bangkok carrying 241 people was today searched for explosives after it was ordered to park at an isolated area of the Thai capital’s main airport following two bomb threats, officials said.

Air India flight AI 332 from Delhi landed at Suvarnabhumi airport seven minutes ahead of its scheduled time of 7:13pm (8:43pm IST) and was asked by air traffic controllers to be parked at an area away from other planes, sources told PTI.

Authorities activated an emergency plan and safely evacuated all 231 passengers, including a child, and 10 crew members from the aircraft to begin checking for a bomb. All passengers were evacuated safely via slides.

“The plane was searched here as a matter of procedure and nothing was found,” Indranil Banerjee, chief of Air India’s Thailand office, told PTI. He said all the passengers on board were evacuated safely and after the search by authorities, the luggage items were also released.

However, the national carrier’s departure flight has been postponed to tomorrow.
Air India said in a statement: “While the plane was 1.15 hrs away from Bangkok, two bomb threat calls were received by Delhi call centre. Accordingly, the pilot was informed who asked the Bangkok Air Traffic Control (ATC) for priority landing.

“With the close coordination of crew and ATC the flight landed safely at Bangkok at 1910 hrs local time and taken to isolation. The threat was for 1915 hrs local time. All parachutes were deployed and all 231 passengers were evacuated in 90 seconds.”

Police from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit checked all pieces of luggage including those loaded on the aircraft, Chads Chumnanvej, deputy general manager of Suvarnabhumi airport in charge of operations, was quoted as saying by The Bangkok Post.

Air India uses a Boeing 787 dreamliner for the flight, according to the flightaware.com. The plane left the Indian capital at 2:10pm IST. Suvarnabhumi is Thailand’s largest international airport and sees around 50 million passengers annually.

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