SINGAPORE: The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) scrambled two of its fighter jets within minutes of being notified of an alleged bomb threat aboard Scoot flight TR634 on Thursday (Apr 5).
Police said preliminary investigations indicated that a passenger on the flight bound for Hat Yai, Thailand had told a cabin crew member he had a bomb in his hand-carry baggage. A 41-year-old man was later arrested.
Recounting the incident, the F-15SG crew involved in the mission said they suited up and took off within minutes, only receiving details and further orders of the mission when they were in the air.
"Once we had successfully joined up with the Scoot plane, we established communications with the pilots through the assigned radio frequency, informing them that they were being escorted by RSAF fighters and (asking them) to comply with all our instructions," said the crew.
"We also got the pilots’ attention by flying close to the Scoot plane so that they could see us. We checked visually if there were any abnormal activities within the cockpit and the cabin.
"We then escorted the Scoot plane to land while constantly ensuring that the pilots complied with all our instructions."
The crew, comprising two pilots and two weapon systems officers, said they had gone through regular and rigorous training to ensure they were "always ready for the task".
"We perform operational standby duties on a regular basis. As a whole, the RSAF works with other national ministries and agencies to monitor the skies over Singapore, and respond swiftly and decisively to potential air threats on a 24/7 basis," the crew said.
A passenger on the flight, which landed safely back at Changi Airport at about 3.25pm, told Channel NewsAsia the atmosphere in the plane was "calm" even as it was being escorted by the fighter jets.
Most of the passengers were unaware of the mission until they were on the ground and read about it on the news, said the eyewitness, who declined to be named.