Monday, February 6

Over 70 passengers from Manila stranded after bomb hoax at KKIA

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KOTA KINABALU: More than 70 passengers from Manila, The Philippines were stranded for more than two hours at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) Terminal 2 after an alleged bomb threat was reported inside a Cebu Pacific plane.

EMERGENCY: Police and Bomb Unit personnel rushing to the Cebu Pacific plane after a bomb threat was received. — Photo by Elton Gomes

Flight 5J733 which left the Philippine capital around 4pm yesterday for Sabah, was forced to make an emergency landing at KKIA Terminal Two around 5.50pm.

State Commissioner of Police Datuk Hamza Taib, when contacted yesterday, said police received information that there was a bomb inside the aircraft.

Once the plane had landed and all passengers were evacuated to the arrival
hall, a bomb unit team and the General Operations Force were quickly deployed to check on the plane.

“All passengers, including the captain and flight crew members, are safe.

“We are still investigating,” he said, but stressed that no one was injured during the landing but it was believed that all the passengers were put into ‘quarantine’ for security check and clearance once they arrived.

“They were all released around 8.30pm.”

According to one of the passengers, Jomar Pacheco, 23, the passengers only realised what was going on when they arrived at Terminal Two.

“When we arrived, we (passengers) were asked not to leave the arrival hall as there would be security check.

“Police check all our luggage without questioning us,” he told reporters when met at Terminal Two yesterday.

No flights — leaving and arriving at Terminal Two during the two-hour incident — were delayed.

It was also learnt that a reporter of a local newspaper was detained by police for taking photos of the situation at the airport.

He was released a few minutes later.