Malaysia Airlines flight returns to Melbourne after passenger tries to enter cockpit

Kuala Lumpur-bound Flight MH128 departed Melbourne at 11:11pm (1311 GMT) on Wednesday but turned back shortly afterwards when a man allegedly threatened those on board, Australian police said.

A Malaysia Airlines plane has been forced to turn back to Melbourne airport after a passenger tried to enter the cockpit.

The airline stressed in a statement that the flight had not at any point been hijacked.

Victoria Police said: "The man did not gain entry to the cockpit".

A passenger attempt at the cockpit caused flights to be suspended in Melbourne.

He was quickly tackled by flight attendants and passengers who restrained him.

But Malaysia's Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz bin Kaprawi said "it was not a bomb but a powerbank", according to the AFP agency.

"Suddenly someone said, 'What's that?' and the man sprinted to the back of the plane".

In an audio recording lifted from air traffic control, a male voice can be heard saying "We have a passenger trying to enter the cockpit." .

"However we'd like to land and have the device checked", the pilot said.

The man was overpowered by passengers but armed police entered the plane to make sure everything was okay.

All other flights were diverted to Avalon, near Geelong, with Melbourne Airport reportedly in lock down.

Passengers have since disembarked the Malaysian Airlines plane.

"The man was subdued and a safety plan was enacted", Senior Constable Adam West said in a statement. He described seeing a man carrying a large black cylindrical object which looked like speaker, which appeared to have an on/off button and a charging port.

Passengers started leaving the plane about 1.30am. "Malaysia Airlines together with the Australian authorities will be investigating the incident". "So I jumped up, undid my buckle, and approached him". It landed at 11.41 p.m.

Arif Chaudhery, a passenger on board MH128, told Reuters that about 30 minutes into the flight a male passenger attacked a female member of the cabin crew who screamed out for help.

"Safety and security are of utmost priority to Malaysia Airlines", the airlines said in a statement. "They will be offered the next available flight or on other carriers", added the airline.

"There appears to be no imminent threat to passengers, staff or public and the investigation is ongoing", he said.

  • Zachary Reyes