A Lion Air flight from Pekanbaru to Medan was delayed on Friday after a passenger who turned out to be an Army officer joked about carrying a bomb on board the plane, an official said.
Jaya Tahoma Sirait, general manager of Sultan Syarif Kasim II International Airport in Pekanbaru, Riau, said on Friday that Lion Air JT141 flight carrying 189 passengers was scheduled to take off at 3:15 p.m., headed for Kuala Namu Airport in North Sumatra.
However, a man sitting in seat 18B was seen still holding a bag on his lap prior to takeoff. A stewardess then offered to put his bag in the overhead cabin and as she did so the man, initialed S, told her to be careful as it was a bomb.
The pilot of the flight delayed takeoff upon receiving a report of the incident from the stewardess.
“The passenger was then taken for questioning. Maybe he meant it as a joke, but based on the standard operating procedure of airport security, he must be investigated,” he said.
As part of a standard security response, all passengers were asked to get off of the plane and baggage and cargo were unloaded for re-checking.
Tahoma said that S was later identified as a major in the Indonesian Army. S did not explain his conduct, which caused shock to other passengers.
The airport authorities also reported him to military police for further investigation.
Moreover, Tahoma said that after checking the safety of the airplane, the flight was eventually allowed to take off at 5.35 pm.