There’s never a good time to make a bomb joke on a plane, but it doesn’t get much worse than making one just a few days after numerous terrorist attacks and suicide bombings in Indonesia have killed dozens. Yet not only did one passenger on a Lion Air flight do just that on Tuesday, he also allegedly claimed he was a terrorist, resulting in his inevitable ejection from the flight.
The passenger, identified as 71-year-old DB, was boarding his Jakarta-bound plane at Sultan Syarif Kasim Airport in Pekanbaru (a city that would witness an actual terrorist attack the next morning, leaving one policeman dead) when he uttered two ultimate no-nos to the flight crew.
“When he got on the plane he asked a flight attendant, ‘may I bring a bomb? I’m a terrorist,’” said Jaya Toham Sirait, general manager at state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura, as quoted by Kompas yesterday.
Jaya said the flight attendant then alerted authorities and Aviation Security soon arrived to take DB away. The flight, originally scheduled to depart at 1:35 pm, was delayed to 3:54 pm as authorities had to carry out an inspection because of DB’s claims.
“We didn’t find any evidence of explosives or other suspicious objects,” said Lion Air Corporate Communications officer Danang Mandala Prihartono, as quoted by Kompas.
The plane eventually departed from Pekanbaru and landed safely in Jakarta, sans DB, who was interrogated by Aviation Security at Sultan Syarif Kasim Airport. It’s not clear if the elderly man is facing criminal charges.
Under Article 473 of the Aviation Law, those who joke about bombs in flight can be punished with anywhere from 1 to 15 years in prison.
Earlier this month, a passenger on a Lion Air flight from Belitung to Jakarta made a false bomb threat just after everybody had boarded, resulting in a similar evacuation of the plane which set back the departure by a couple of hours.