Singapore Air Force fighter jets dispatched to escort Perth-bound passenger flight after ‘bomb’ threat – as Australian charged
An Australian man has been charged in Singapore for allegedly making a bomb threat on a Perth-bound flight.
Kevin Francis Hawkins’ alleged threat caused the Scoot plane to be overturned by the pilot and his escort to Changi Airport by F-15SG fighter jets on Thursday.
Hawkins, 30, allegedly told a cabin crew member “I have a bomb” during the flight, according to the indictment.
He also allegedly “uttered the word ‘bomb’ several times” to another member of the cabin crew.
Hawkins faces up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to 500,000 Singapore dollars ($580,000) or both if convicted.
Australian Kevin Francis Hawkins (pictured) has been charged in Singapore for allegedly making a bomb threat on a flight to Perth.
Singapore police said on Saturday that the threat had proven false, but Hawkins was charged under anti-terrorism laws.
He is currently detained at the Singapore Institute of Mental Health.
The 363 passengers – there were also 11 crew members on board the Boeing 787 Dreamliner – were initially informed that the flight was returning to Singapore due to a technical problem.
But when Singapore Air Force fighter jets arrived, they were told there had been a bomb threat.
In images from inside the plane released by 9NewsThe captain is heard saying: “A call has been received that a bomb is on board our plane.
“Please don’t worry as we believe this is a hoax.”
Although the crew tried to keep passengers safe, Sue Nair said she was “really panicked”.
She said Hawkins “didn’t speak at all” when he left the plane, “he was a little dazed.”
A friend of Hawkins, who did not want to give his name, said he had mental health issues.
“I spoke to his mother this morning and she is very distressed, very confused. I’m afraid he won’t get the support he needs.
“He doesn’t have anyone around him. He’s an overseas Australian.
The flight finally arrived in Perth around 4am on Friday, around eight hours later than expected.
A Singapore Air Force F-15SG fighter jet is seen in a photo taken from inside the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner it was escorting to Changi Airport.
A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner operated by Scoot is pictured on the tarmac at Changi Airport in Singapore.
In a statement, Scoot said it “sincerely apologizes for the disruption and inconvenience caused.” The safety of our customers and crew is our top priority.
One passenger happy to be back home in Western Australia said “it was an unforgettable experience”.
Hawkins’ case is expected to be heard in the Singapore state courts on October 27.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was “ready to provide consular assistance to an Australian detained in Singapore”.