A 25-year-old man who was detained after allegedly making a bomb threat on a Kuala Lumpur-bound Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH128 from Melbourne, Australia last night, will be prosecuted today, according to Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton.
In a live press conference in Victoria Police’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts, he said the Sri Lankan man was carrying a plastic bag containing a music speaker, and had allegedly demanded to enter the cockpit, saying he had an explosive device with him.
“The offender is in Australia on a student visa and studying in the catering industry. He was released from psychiatric care yesterday.
“The offender is potentially facing Commonwealth charges which carry a maximum 10 years in prison,” he said, adding that the interrogation session with the offender concluded that there was no terrorism link.
Australian-based news agency ABC reported earlier that the flight was forced to turn back shortly after take-off when a man tried to enter the cockpit while carrying what witnesses described as a “strange-looking” object.
In an immediate statement released after the incident, MAS said the flight which left Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport at 11.11pm (9.11pm Malaysian time), was forced to turn back due to a disruptive passenger.
“Flight MH128 which departed from Melbourne, Australia on Wednesday night, was expected to arrive in Kuala Lumpur on June 1 at 5.28am (Malaysian time).
“The flight had turned back after the operating captain was alerted by a cabin crew of a passenger who had attempted to enter the cockpit,” it said.
In an updated statement later, MAS confirmed that the flight landed back at the airport approximately 30 minutes after departure, and the disruptive passenger was immediately apprehended by Australian security force personnel.
“The affected passengers will be accommodated at hotels. They will be offered the next available flight or on other carriers,” said Malaysia’s national carrier. – Bernama