Passengers tackled man who 'threatened to blow up Malaysia Airlines Flight MH128'

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - A Malaysia Airlines plane returned to Australia after a mentally ill passenger threatened to detonate a bomb and attempted to enter the cockpit before he was tackled and tied up by passengers, police said Thursday.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH128 departing from Melbourne, Australia, was forced to reverse course after a passenger allegedly tried to enter the cockpit and threaten to bomb the plane.

Supt Langdon said the man was carrying an electronic device that police quickly realised was not a bomb.

The crew gave them seat belts to hog-tie him before the plane, carrying 337 passengers, returned and made an emergency landing at Melbourne airport.

Former AFL player Andrew Leoncelli told the ABC he was near the front of the plane and saw a man carrying a big object go towards the cockpit and become really agitated, saying "I'm going to f***ing blow the plane up".

Kuala Lumpur-bound Flight MH128 departed Melbourne at 11:11 Pm (local time).

Armed security personnel entered the plane to remove the man and escort other passengers off the aircraft, he said.

"Everyone on board is safe", Aziz added.

Video from when the aircraft had landed back in Melbourne shows armed police going up and down the aisles.

"We do no believe this is terrorist-related at the moment", he said.

Manodh Marks appeared in court today and faces a potential 10-year prison sentence on each charge.

Malaysia Airlines said in a statement the incident would be investigated by the airline and by airport authorities.

"I certainly appreciate when you are on a plane in that situation one minute could seem like an hour", he said.

"It was a successful outcome in that point of view and any delay we want to keep to a minimum, but that was the reason for the amount of time it took to get the passengers off the flight". SWAT team members boarded the plane, grabbed the man and let the passengers off.

Marks has a history of psychiatric illness and had just been released from a psychiatric facility, before he boarded the flight, police said.

"We have to make sure all possibilities are taken into account, including the possibilities of co-offenders, or, if there was an explosive device, the possibility of there being other explosive devices where the sudden removal of the passengers could cause difficulty".

8am: Passengers were still being held inside the airport at a gate lounge.

"Safety and security are of Malaysia Airlines' utmost priority". Later that same year, Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down in eastern Ukraine.

  • Salvatore Jensen