A 40-year-old man has been jailed for two years after falsely claiming there was a bomb aboard a Singapore Airlines flight from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM) in Mumbai to Changi Airport (SIN) in Singapore. Sanjay Korat from Newcastle, New South Wales in Australia falsely claimed that there was a bomb onboard flight number SQ423, on which his mother and another relative were traveling on.
The aircraft, a Boeing 777-300ER, had departed Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 23:36 local time on Monday, March 25, 2019, for the 5hr 25-minute flight to Singapore. After learning about the bomb threat, Singapore’s authorities scrambled two fighter jets from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) to escort the plane to Changi Airport.
29 passengers missed their connections
The aircraft carrying 263 passengers and 18 crew members landed safely in Singapore some 31 minutes late and did not impact airport operations. Once the plane was safely on the ground, the captain asked everyone to remain seated, explaining that they had received a bomb threat. Passengers had to remain on the plane while all the luggage was checked, forcing 29 people to miss their connecting flights.
When being questioned by police at the time of the incident, Korat said that he had become angry after spending 40 minutes on hold while waiting to speak to someone from Singapore Airlines and having to phone Mumbai Airport to provide extra information for his relatives to travel.
Korat had been drinking
While the plane was en route to Singapore, Korat called the airport to tell them that there was a bomb on Singapore Airlines flight SQ423. Then in a second call to an airline employee that was recorded, Korat can be heard saying in Hindi, which was translated into English for the court, the following:
“There is a bomb. My mother is in there, and my relative is in there. There is a danger to both of their lives. If you want to do something, then do it. If you do not want to do anything, then do not. It is your wish.” he said according to Australia’s 9News:
The court also heard that Korat suffered from depression and was intoxicated at the time of the bomb threat.
Korat will serve a minimum of 12 months in Jail
While summing up before sentencing, Judge James Bennett said that while he understood that Korat suffered from an alcohol disorder and depression, it was no excuse for his misconduct that likely caused extreme distress to the passengers and crew aboard the flight. Korat was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and will serve a minimum of 12 months behind bars before being released on a three-year good behavior bond.
This is not the first time someone has called in a bomb threat to an airline or joked about having a bomb. People need to realize that this is a grave allegation and can get you into a lot of trouble.
Are 12 months too lenient or about right? Please tell us what you think in the comments.