Flight grounded by bomb threat, court told

By Brendan Manning, Jimmy Ellingham

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A woman who missed her Auckland to Napier flight caused the plane to turn back when she claimed to have a bomb, it is alleged.

Christine Hawea, 57, is accused of making the claim to Air New Zealand staff last Thursday when she arrived late at Auckland Airport's domestic terminal.

"Yeah, I got a bomb, do you want to look at it?'' the East Tamaki woman allegedly said.

Hawea appeared in the Manukau District Court today charged with communicating false information.

Laid under the Civil Aviation Act, the charge carries a maximum penalty of one month in jail.

Hawea did not enter a plea and will be back in court later this month.

Last week an Air NZ spokeswoman said the Air Nelson Q300 aircraft was in the air when the alleged threat was made. It returned to Auckland as a precaution before it was cleared by aviation security to return to Napier.

It finally landed 2 1/2 hours behind schedule at 2.15pm, the spokeswoman said.

No other flights were delayed.

An Auckland Airport spokesman said the airport's runway was closed between 11.05am and 11.35am following the "possible security threat''.

A 15-year-old schoolgirl on the flight told the Hawke's Bay Today she was "freaked out'' by the about turn.

"The air hostess was looking really distressed and were flying much lower than usual. It was pretty weird.''

- APNZ

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