- Melbourne Airport in lock down after man reportedly attempts to hijack plane
- Malaysian Airlines flight MH128 took off from Melbourne flying to Kuala Lumpur
- It took off at 11.11pm on Wednesday and was forced to make emergency landing
- The man then attempted to enter the cockpit after claiming he had ‘explosives’
- Other passengers on the plane reportedly tackled the man and subdued him
- Plane sat on tarmac for hours and was taken away to secure location for testing
A 25-year-old man claiming to be carrying a bomb attempted to hijack a flight and force his way into the plane’s cockpit, before other passengers wrestled him to the ground.
People on board witnessed the man attack an air hostess just minutes after take-off at 11.11pm on Wednesday, before he was heard shouting ‘I’m going to blow up this plane’.
Passengers then confronted the man and tackled him down to the ground, allowing the pilot to make a dramatic u-turn back to Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport.
Superintendent Tony Langdon said the person, an Australian citizen from Dandenong in Melbourne’s southeast, was in police custody and being interviewed.
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Images of the terrifying moment the attacker was subdued by passengers onboard the flight have been shared to social media. Having been tackled to the floor, photos appear to show a Malaysia Airlines flight attendant placing makeshift keeping him pressed to the ground
Gun-wielding special operation officers wearing camouflage outfits and bullet-proof vests boarded the MH128 flight as it sat on the tarmac at Melbourne Airport, before detaining the attacker
According to witnesses, the man yelled ‘I’m going to blow up this plane’ as he attempted to enter the cockpit
Gun-wielding special operation officers wearing camouflage and bullet-proof vests boarded the plane and detained the attacker, with all passengers disembarking the flight shortly before 2am.
Former AFL star Andrew Leoncelli was sitting in business class on the flight and was just metres from the man as he launched his attack.
Mr Leoncelli told The Age the man began attacking an air-hostess, ‘screaming’ at her that he ‘needed to see the captain’.
‘I’ve got a bomb and I’m going to f***ing blow the plane up,’ Leoncelli quoted the man as saying.
‘Literally he was eyeball to eyeball with me saying he was going to blow the plane up… he looked like a lunatic.’
Mr Leoncelli said the man, who was tall and had dark skin, was holding a ‘huge, metallic, unusual’ object the size of a watermelon with two short antennas.
‘We spent an hour and a half sitting on the plane sh***ing our dacks that this thing might blow up,’ he told Triple M radio.
Passengers on board the plane said the man was holding a ‘huge, metallic’ object with antennas coming out of it
After making an emergency landing the plane sat on the Melbourne Airport tarmac for more than two hours
After making an emergency landing the plane sat on the tarmac with passengers still onboard for more than two hours, with passengers disembarking (pictured) shortly before 2am
Superintendent Langdon said the man had a history of mental illness and was not carrying an explosive device.
‘It’s quite heroic for the passengers and crew to restrain this person,’ he said.
The Malaysian Government claimed the suspicious object the man was holding was likely a powerbank used to charge mobile phones.
‘It is believed that the suspect is a Sri Lankan national, and that he was drunk,’ Malaysia’s Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Seri Aziz Ab Kaprawi told The Star.
After making an emergency landing the plane sat on the tarmac with passengers still on board for more than two hours.
All flights out of Tullamarine were grounded, while incoming aircraft have been diverted to nearby Avalon Airport, or as far away as Tasmania.
The plane has been moved to a secure location for further checking before it is brought back to the tarmac.
Passenger Arif Chaudhery said he believed the man was drunk or on drugs when he threatened to blow up the plane
A woman named Vanessa, whose boyfriend Andrew was a passenger onboard, said the man threatened to detonate the explosives on the plane. The guy said ‘I’m going to blow up this plane’,’ she said
All flights out of Tullamarine (pictured) have reportedly been grounded, while incoming aircraft have been diverted to nearby Avalon Airport, or as far away as Tasmania
Police have set up a perimeter around the airport, but insist there is no imminent threat
A woman named Vanessa, whose boyfriend was a passenger onboard, told radio station 3AW the man threatened to detonate the explosives on the plane.
‘He was the one who first confronted him when an air hostess was getting scared of this guy and that’s when the guy said ‘I’m going to blow up this plane’,’ she said.
Vanessa said the man then ran to another part of the plane where he was tackled to the ground by passengers.
Saiqa Chaudhery, whose husband was on the flight, described the horrifying scenes.
‘He heard a lot of screaming and (an) airhostess calling out for help as a passenger attacked her,’ Ms Chaudhery told News.com.au.
‘Some other passengers and crew tied the man down and (the) flight landed back at Melbourne Airport 25 minutes after takeoff.’
MALAYSIA AIRLINE’S CALAMITOUS HISTORY
– December, 4, 1977: Malaysian Airline System Flight 653, a Boeing 737-200, is hijacked and crashed in Tanjung Kupang, Johor, killing all 100 people on board.
– December 18, 1983: Malaysian Airline System Flight 684, an Airbus A300B2, crashed 2km short of the runway at Subang Airport. All 247 passengers and crew survived.
All 247 passengers and crew miraculously survived when Airline System Flight 684 crashed 2km short of the runway at Subang Airport
– September 15, 1995: Malaysia Airlines Flight 2133 touched down too far along the runway at Tawau Airport, Sabah. It crashed into a shanty town and killed 34 of the 53 people on board.
– March 8, 2014: The infamous flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, vanished en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. The plane has never been located but satellite date suggested it disappeared somewhere over the Southern Indian Ocean and all 239 people on board most likely perished.
Wreckage from the infamous flight MH370, which disappeared over the Indian Ocean with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board, has been washing up ever since it vanished in 2014
– July 17, 2014: Flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200ER, was shot down over Ukraine by a missile on its way to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. All 283 passengers and 15 crew members aboard were killed.
Flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200ER, was shot down over Ukraine by a missile, killing all 298 people on board
– April 8, 2017: Malaysia Airlines Flight 2718 overran the runway on landing at Sibu Airport. The nose gear collapsed but all 67 people on board survived.
No one was killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight 2718 overran the runway on landing at Sibu Airport
Malaysian Airlines flight MH128 travelling to Kuala Lumpur, took off from Melbourne Airport at 11.11pm on Wednesday, before being forced to turn around only minutes later
‘Malaysia Airlines would like to stress that at no point was the aircraft ‘hijacked’,’ a statement from the airline read
Malaysia Airlines has released a statement confirming the incident.
‘Malaysia Airlines flight MH128 of 31 May from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur was forced to turn back to Melbourne due to a disruptive passenger,’ it read.
‘MH128, which had departed Melbourne Airport at 11.11 pm and was scheduled to arrive Kuala Lumpur at 5.28am on 1 June, made a turn back to Melbourne after the operating Captain was alerted by a cabin crew member of a passenger attempting to enter the cockpit.
‘Malaysia Airlines would like to stress that at no point was the aircraft ‘hijacked’. MH128 safely landed in Melbourne airport at 11.41pm.
‘Following the incident on MH128, the disruptive passenger has been apprehended by airport security. Malaysia Airlines together with the Australian authorities will be investigating the incident.
‘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.
‘Affected passengers will be accommodated at hotels. They will be offered travel on the next available flight or on other carriers.’
Victoria Police Senior Constable Adam West said that Malaysia Airlines had called for assistance at 11.40pm.
‘It is alleged that a man tried to enter the cockpit and threatened the safety of passengers and staff,’
‘The man did not gain entry to the cockpit. The man was subdued and a safety plan was enacted.
‘There appears to be no imminent threat to passengers, staff or public and the investigation is ongoing.’
‘The man did not gain entry to the cockpit. The man was subdued and a safety plan was enacted,’
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online