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Unknown source threatens to shoot down Vietnam Airlines aircraft over Tokyo Bay

HANOI, VIETNAM — On Jan. 5, a Vietnam Airlines aircraft, which took off from Japan’s Narita airport for Hanoi International, was threatened that it would be shot down over Tokyo Bay. ( More...

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StephenV 8
Somebody's wife was on that plane. Either with her boyfriend or the couple's children (sans spousal permission to take them from the country).
Stef Lar 1
But why “shoot down” and not just a regular old bomb threat?
StephenV 3
Why not? Points for originality? Because he thought it might be more believable to shoot one down than to convince them he had the ability to get a remotely controlled explosive on board? Who knows?
Besides, asking for reason from someone threatening to shoot down an aircraft? Surely you jest. :)
SmittySmithsonite 1
That was my exact thought, Steven.
Wayne Fox 6
As a Vietnam era veteran this concerns me. Regardless of past differences we as a people must learn to let go of former feelings of hate and just get on with our lives. I hope they catch and prosecute this idiot although I doubt that they will find him.
user3956 2
Thank you for your service. I've been to Việt Nam and have lots of Việt friends in the US. I can't imagine anyone still being upset over that war this many years later enough to call in this type of threat. With the current climate in the region things have been on the mend for a while as part of a sort of united front against China, this threat seems rather strange.
David Stocker 3
Something seems off with the timing. The article says that the call came 40 minutes after the aircraft departed NRT, but wouldn't the aircraft have been well past Tokyo Bay on the way to Hanoi by then?
Stef Lar 4
It’d also have reached cruising altitude, making a shootdown a little bit harder for some random individual.
David Ackerman 1
To be incredibly honest, I'd guess your typical individual lacks the ability to shoot down any aircraft at any altitude anywhere, but especially in Japan. Your usual small arms just aren't going to do the job, and even large knives are illegal there. (I want to say there are loud announcements about leaving your swords at home when you get off the plane. But maybe that was Korea. Either way, weapons are pretty much a no no.) I doubt anyone near Tokyo bay other than the Japanese and US militaries have the capacity to reliably shoot down an airliner. A random idiot could crash a drone into one, maybe, but that's exceptionally unlikely to bring one down. Maybe a drone swarm would work, but that would require a large and coordinated effort and someone would notice. Honestly, bringing down a jet probably requires a fairly smart rocket or an autocannon of some kind. That is, after all, how the pros do it. And most folks just don't have that kind of hardware. If it were easy aircraft wouldn't be such potent weapons.
David Ackerman 4
It's darned weird. A great circle from Narita International to Noi Bai in Hanoi only just barely clips Tokyo Bay. I'd guess there's even odds wind direction would mean you don't cross the bay at all. I've flown in from Saigon a few times and I recall it being hit or miss, and Saigon is a heck of a lot further south, thus a great circle really does cross the bay, but even so I want to say about half the time we've come in across land. Small sample and all that, but this is just a weird story. If it was a prank it's an unusually stupid one. Here's to hoping they catch whoever did it and sentence them to a lifetime of flying United. In cargo. Dressed as a musical instrument.
Rich Mueller 4
Now that is a curse. :-D May I use that sometime? I am big fan of the "United Breaks Guitars" trilogy
David Ackerman 2
If you read string instrument boards it seems as though United is far far from alone. The general advice seems to be pay for an extra seat and take your instrument into the cabin and refuse to board if anyone tries to stop you. No matter the airline. A friend of mine was saved by a WoW pilot when a flight crew was refusing to allow her to board with a half million dollar violin as carry on. (The pilot offered to carry the violin into the cockpit personally, thus solving the problem.)

Anyway, please feel free to use the curse and vary it as you see fit. It seems a fitting punishment for someone threatening so many people. Even if it was only a joke the financial and personal inconvenience to the victims was apparently quite real.
Franco Prizzi 1
I had your same doubt. And it was diverted to Fukuoka 3hs after passing Tokio Bay...
Jon Adams 1
At first I thought this threat came over the aircraft radi0.
Brian Rushfeldt 0
some mental Covid nutcase...


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