VIETNAM AIRLINES CẢM ƠN BOEING 777

Authorities have identified a suspect in the threat to lớn shoot down a Vietnam Airlines Dreamliner in early January this year.


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Photo: Getty Images
Just at the start of the new year, on January 5th, a Vietnam Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner operating a flight from Tokyo to lớn Hanoi was forced khổng lồ divert following a threat. A phone gọi was made lớn the airline's offices in Japan, claiming that the plane would be shot out of the sky if it did not immediately head back to Tokyo's Narita airport, from where it had taken off about 40 minutes prior.

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After consultation with the two countries' respective aviation authorities, the pilots turned the plane around as it was heading out across the East china Sea. They landed it without incident at Fukuoka Airport after about two and a half hours in the sky. Officials visited the airport, investigated the aircraft, spoke to lớn the crew, and deemed it safe for the flight lớn continue.


All 47 passengers and 15 crew members made it safely to lớn Hanoi at 18:12 local time. The only information given to lớn the passengers up until landing was that the plane had experienced some technical issues.

Investigations have now led the police to a local man in Japan. According khổng lồ sources familiar with the matter, the man shows no signs of mental illness and appears to lớn have been acting alone, Vietnamese media outlet đất nước hình chữ s Express International reports. No specific motive or purpose behind the man's actions has been revealed thus far.


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The aircraft diverted to lớn Fukuoka but it was later deemed safe for it to lớn continue. Photo: Prenn via Wikimedia Commons

Threat out-of-sync with actual flight

The threat made was specific in terms of naming the flight's number, but there was no demand made other than that the aircraft should return to lớn its point of origin. The anonymous caller said (supposedly in Japanese),


"Flight VN5311 had better turn back to Narita or it will be shot down when passing Tokyo Bay. I am preparing to lớn shoot VN5311 when it flies above Tokyo Bay. It had better turn around."

By the time the threat was made, the plane had already passed Tokyo Bay, something that may have had an impact on the authorities' decision to allow the aircraft lớn continue on its journey.

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The aviation authorities of Vietnam stated at the time that the threat was 'surprising', và that it was the first time a Vietnamese aircraft operating abroad had been in this type of situation.


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The deadliest shoot-down of an airliner ever was the loss of Malaysia Airlines' Boeing 777 over Ukraine in 2014. Photo: Alan Wilson via Wikimedia Commons

Real shoot-downs and other nhái threats

This time, the threat seems to lớn have been made on something of a whim, with no actual capabilities or intentions of ever going through with it. However, with more potential conflict stirring again in Ukraine, it is difficult not lớn be reminded of the tragic loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014.


The Boeing 777 was shot down on its way from Amsterdam khổng lồ Kuala Lumpur, having been targeted by a surface-to-air missile from pro-Russian separatist-controlled territory. All 298 people on board perished, making it the deadliest airliner shoot-down to lớn date.

In July last year, three different men were arrested for having made false threats to lớn Ryanair flights, where the budget carrier's crew had found notes claiming there to lớn be explosives on board.


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Lead Sustainability Journalist - With a Masters in International Relations, Linnea has combined her love for current affairs with her passion for travel to lớn become a key thành viên of the Simple Flying team. With eight years’ experience in publishing và citations in publications such as CNN, Linnea brings a deep understanding of politics & future aviation tech khổng lồ her stories. Based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.


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