A flight operated by national carrier Vietnam Airlines (VNA) was diverted in Japan on Wednesday after an anonymous caller threatened to shoot it down.
Flight VN5311, a Boeing 787 aircraft, departed from Narita Airport in Japan for Hanoi at 10:30 am on Wednesday with 15 crew members and 47 passengers, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).
At about 11:10 am, a VNA office in Japan received a phone call from a man who spoke Japanese and claimed to be an American.
The anonymous caller threatened that flight VN5311 would be shot down over Tokyo Bay unless it returned to Narita.
"I am preparing to shoot VN5311 when it flies above Tokyo Bay. It had better turn around,” the man stated.
The flight had already been in the air for 40 minutes and was nearing Tokyo Bay when the call was received.
VNA promptly reported the incident to Japanese authorities, the CAAV, and Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security.
The airline also convened an urgent meeting with its emergency committee and steering sub-committee for counter-terrorism.
After receiving approval from Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, who also chairs the National Civil Aviation Security Committee, and Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The, the CAAV directed VNA to seek permission from Japanese authorities to divert the flight to Japan’s Fukuoka airport.
The plane landed at Fukuoka airport at 1:02 pm the same day.
Local authorities and police officers checked the aircraft and interviewed the crew members and passengers, as well as evaluated the airplane’s safety measures.
As no unusual signs were found, the flight was permitted to leave Fukuoka at 3:48 pm and landed in Hanoi at 6:18 pm.
The CAAV has reported the incident to relevant agencies and coordinated with Japanese authorities in order to clarify the case.