Malaysia Airlines plane diverted over disruptive passenger

Elias Hubbard
June 10, 2017

A passenger sitting in business class, who identified himself as Andy, told Melbourne commercial radio station 3AW the man threatened to "blow the plane up".

Passengers aboard Malaysian Airlines MH128 wait to speak with investigators after their Kuala Lumpur-bound flight was forced to return to Melbourne Airport because of a disruptive passenger.

His lawyer Tess Dunsford told the magistrate that her client suffers from a psychiatric illness and would not be applying for bail.

Sri Lankan Manodh Marks, who had been living in Dandenong on a student visa, has been charged with threatening to blow up the global passenger jet - which was carrying more than 330 people.

Turns out the "thing" wasn't an explosive device, Victoria police not disclosing exactly what it was but confirmed it was an "electronic item, something that everyone would be carrying around with them on a daily basis".

The court heard CCTV footage will be used as evidence in the case.

He also reasoned that the delay in getting passengers off the plane was because of initial reports that there was possibly more than one offender and more than one explosive on board.

"He was agitated, is the best description -100%, he was agitated".

"We do not believe this is terrorist-related at the moment", Langdon said on ABC News.

The man refused to sit down, and threatened to "blow the plane up", he said.

Marks, who lived in the Melbourne suburb of Dandenong and was studying to be a chef, said he was carrying a bomb but the device was actually a bluetooth speaker slightly larger than an iPhone, said Mr Ashton.

Australian authorities have started an investigation and passengers are being interviewed about the incident.

A passenger on a Malaysia Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur was arrested in Australia early on Thursday morning after attempting to get into the cockpit.

Passengers were forced to endure a 30-minute ordeal while the plane returned to the airport.

Leoncelli said he then approached the man who ran "down the side" to the back of the plane. "We could see them all outside and they weren't coming on to the plane and we didn't know why".

Police praised the "heroic" actions of the passengers and crew.

The man now faces two charges under the Crimes and Aviation Act; one of threatening an aircraft and the other of making false claims, both of which have a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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