Swiss held for Samui flight threat

Swiss held for Samui flight threat

Police officers at Suvarnabhumi airport interrogate Reto Steinacher on Friday after removing him from a Bangkok Airways flight following a bomb threat. (Photo by Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)
Police officers at Suvarnabhumi airport interrogate Reto Steinacher on Friday after removing him from a Bangkok Airways flight following a bomb threat. (Photo by Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)

A passenger accused of making a bomb threat on a flight to Koh Samui from Bangkok on Friday has been taken to court for further detention.

Kittipob Chumpunuch, the superintendent of the Suvarnabhumi airport police station, told INN on Saturday that police sought permission from the Samut Prakan court to detain Reto Steinacher after the Swiss national was arrested on Friday.

The request is routine under Thai law as police can keep a suspect for only 24 hours and need court approval to extend detention for another 12 days.

Pol Col Kittipob said the detention was necessary as investigators were gathering more evidence to take the case to court.

The 36-year-old tourist was arrested on Friday following an incident onboard Bangkok Airways flight PG145 from Suvarnabhumi airport to the resort island. Pilots aborted the take-off and returned the Airbus A319 aircraft with 100 passengers and seven crew members to an isolated parking area for safety.

An earlier report in the Bangkok Post said the Swiss passenger had been involved in a quarrel with another passenger.

But Pol Lt Col Charasluck La-inchuea, who received the complaint from a Bangkok Airways pilot, said on Friday night that Mr Steinacher, who was travelling alone on the flight, suddenly shouted that there was a bomb on the plane and four American passengers sitting nearby promptly alerted a crew member.

All of the passengers were transferred by the carrier to another flight after the incident.

The passenger denied charges of violating the Aviation Act during interrogation on Friday, she said.


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