A Malaysia Airlines plane has been forced to make an emergency landing at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport after a passenger tried to enter the cockpit and started making threats.
The airline has confirmed flight MH128, which had departed Melbourne Airport at 11.11pm on Wednesday, made a turn back after ‘the operating Captain was alerted by a cabin crew of a passenger attempting to enter the cockpit.’
The airline stressed that “at no point was the aircraft ‘hijacked’.”
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Passenger Andrew Leoncelli told Fairfax the man screamed: “I’ve got a bomb and I’m going to f***ing blow the plane up” before flight attendants and other passengers tackled and restrained him.
There are some reports that suggest the disruptive passenger appeared to be intoxicated.
Fairfax reports that in air traffic control audio posted online, a male voice can be heard saying: “We have a passenger trying to enter the cockpit.”
About three minutes later the same male voice can be heard saying the passenger was “claiming to have an explosive device, tried to enter the cockpit, has been overpowered by passengers”.
“However we’d like to land and have the device checked,” the voice reportedly said.
The airline said the passenger has been apprehended by airport security.
“Malaysia Airlines together with the Australian authorities will be investigating the incident,” the statement read.
“Safety and security are of utmost priority to Malaysia Airlines. The airline wishes to apologise for the inconvenience caused.
“Passengers have safely disembarked the aircraft and will be screened by Australian authorities.
“They will be accommodated at hotels and offered on the next available flight or on other carriers.”
Victoria police released a statement which confirmed the incident and that no one was hurt.
“The plane landed safely at the airport and passengers are currently exiting the plane and speaking to investigators,” Victoria Police said in a statement.
“There appears to be no imminent threat to passengers, staff or public and the investigation is ongoing.”