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Woman kicked off Philippines flight for making bomb joke

The incident happened on a Cebu Pacific plane in Davao, Philippines (Getty Images)
The incident happened on a Cebu Pacific plane in Davao, Philippines (Getty Images)

A woman was removed from a flight in the Philippines on Sunday after making a joke about a bomb.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) reported that a female passenger had been removed from Cebu Pacific flight 5J97 before it took off from Davao International Airport on 29 January.

The flight had been set to depart Davao at 6.45pm, but passengers were delayed until 9.11pm that evening due to the incident.

The nature of the joke is unclear, but the CAAP said that all 220 passengers on the flight were asked to leave the plane so it could be security checked and all baggage screened after the woman had been removed.

According to local news source GMA Network, Davao police named the passenger as 59-year-old Annabelle Macose.

Ms Macose was taken to Sasa Police Station for custodial proceedings, reported GMA.

Bomb jokes are risky in any country, but the multi-island nation of the Philippines is famous for its “anti-bomb joke law”, officially called the Anti-Threat Jokes Act of 2014.

In November 2021, an American man was arrested at the country’s Tuguegarao City Airport after joking about having a bomb in his luggage while still on the ground.

George Adrien Favarielle from New Jersey was arrested after cracking the joke as a member of Cebu Pacific staff inspected his luggage.

Filipino congressman Erlpe John M. Amante introduced the law with the note: “It may be a joke, but a bomb joke is no laughing matter.”

Those who break the law face fines of more than 40,000 Philippine Pesos (£590), and potentially a jail sentence of up to five years.

Elsewhere, in August 2020, a passenger was kicked off a flight from Whangarei to Auckland in New Zealand after someone joked that they were carrying a bomb.

Police told Newshub that a man and a woman were assisting in their enquiries after “a person alleged another person was in possession of an explosive“.