Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH128, which was bound for Kuala Lumpur from Melbourne, made an emergency landing last night due to a disruptive passenger.
The initial report stated that the plane returned to Melbourne due to a “passenger security incident” after take off. Real time air traffic tracker Flightradar24 posted up an image depicting MH128’s route, as it performed a small loop before landing again.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) May 31, 2017
Malaysia Airlines later confirmed the incident via an official statement, which said that the operating Captain was alerted by a cabin crew of a passenger attempting to enter the cockpit. The airline also stressed that at no point was the aircraft “hijacked”.
MH128 had left Melbourne for Kuala Lumpur at 11:11pm and reached 2,000 metres before turning around and landing at 11:41pm. For 20 minutes, passengers on the flight tackled the man, reportedly a Sri Lankan national, as he tried to enter the cockpit while claiming to have a bomb.
Former Melbourne AFL footballer Andrew Leoncelli, who was on the flight, was quoted as saying, “The staff were saying ‘sit back down sir, sit back down sir’. “He goes, ‘no, I’m not going to sit back down – I’m going to blow the plane up’.” Andrew described the supposed “bomb” to be a large object with what appeared to be antennas coming off it.
The passenger, reportedly a 25-year-old Sri Lankan national, was overpowered by the plane’s crew and later arrested at Melbourne’s airport. It is believed that the passenger has mental health issues.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) Superintendent Tony Langdon said the “device” the man was holding was “obviously not an explosive device” but would not go into further detail. He also confirmed that members from the Special Operations Group detained the man after the flight was turned back to Melbourne.
The incident is not being treated as terror related.
More to come.