(UDHAYAM, COLOMBO) – A Malaysia Airlines flight was forced to turn back after a passenger claimed he was carrying a bomb and tried to enter the cockpit.
The flight from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur was turned back after the captain was alerted to the “disruptive” passenger by cabin crew.
It landed at Melbourne Airport at 11.40 PM local time and was kept in a remote bay while security services were called.
The passenger was apprehended by Airport Security, Malaysia Airlines said.
Malaysian Transport Minister Abdul Aziz bin Kaprawi said the man was a Sri Lankan national and the item he claimed was a “bomb” turned out to be a battery pack.
Mr. Kaprawi said, “It is not a hijack. One disruptive passenger tried to enter the plane’s cockpit.”
No-one was injured in the bomb scare, he added.
Images posted on social media showed armed Police officers on board the plane and the suspect on the ground in plastic handcuffs.
Passenger Andrew Leoncelli said the man was “screaming” and shouted “I’ve got a bomb and I’m going to blow the plane up”.
“Literally he was eyeball to eyeball with me saying he was going to blow the plane up,” Mr. Leoncelli told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“He looked like a lunatic. For some reason he lost his nerve and he ran… and he headed towards the back of the plane.
“I hadn’t done anything to him except confront him.”
Flightradar24, an aircraft monitoring site, said that flights bound for Melbourne were diverted to other airports.
The Malaysian Airlines flight landed after being airborne for just 14-minutes, it added.
In a statement, the airline said, “Safety and security are of Malaysia Airlines’ utmost priority.
“Malaysia Airlines together with the Australian authorities will be investigating the incident.