Malaysia Airlines grounded as passenger seeks to enter cockpit

Malaysia's deputy transport minister Aziz Ab Kaprawi confirmed that the "disruptive passenger" was drunk.

The 25-year-old Sri Lankan man had been discharged from a Melbourne psychiatric hospital on Wednesday before buying a ticket on the late-night flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said.

But the plane returned to Melbourne after the operating captain was alerted by the cabin crew of the disruptive passenger, the airline said.

The passengers reportedly overpowered the man after he claimed to have explosives. "But it was not a bomb but a powerbank".

"Everyone on board is safe..."

After the plane landed, armed security personnel removed Marks and escorted the other passengers off the aircraft, he said.

Victoria state police said the man allegedly threatened the safety of passengers and staff.

"The plane landed safely at the airport and passengers are now exiting the plane and speaking to investigators".

"So we have to make sure that we're doing everything humanly possible to not further endanger passengers, crew and (the) person apprehended". Malaysia Airlines would like to stress that at no point was the aircraft "hijacked".

"Some passengers and crew grabbed the man and tackled him to the floor", Chaudhery said, adding that seat belts were used to tie the man's hands. He then walked away and was subdued by other passengers before the flight returned to Melbourne.

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

However, a police source said the responding officers had been poorly briefed and believed for up to an hour that the suspect may have been carrying an explosive device.

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

Passengers took action to subdue Mr Marks and held him down while waiting for police to board the plane.

"Passengers have been sent to local hotels in Melbourne and will be departing to Kuala Lumpur throughout June 1", Malaysia Airlines said in a statement today. Malaysia Airlines together with the Australian authorities will be investigating the incident.

  • Leroy Wright