Published: Sat, June 10, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Malaysia Airlines plane turns back after 'bomb threat'

Sri Lankan Manodh Marks, 25, is charged with endangering the safety of an aircraft and making false threats after a mid-air drama late on Wednesday that forced Malaysia Airlines flight 128 bound for Kuala Lumpur to turn back to Tullamarine.

"It is not a hijack. But it was not a bomb but a powerbank", Mr Aziz said.

The mid-flight scare ended safely, but passengers later criticized the police response which saw them sit on the tarmac for 90 minutes with what they thought could be a bomb on board, according to the Australian Broadcasting Authority.

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH128 has been re-designated to operate as MH128D and will depart from Melbourne's Tullamarine airport at 8pm local time (6pm Malaysian time) today.

Victoria Police also confirmed the incident, stating that "a man tried to enter the cockpit and threatened the safety of passengers and staff". "The crew managed to handle the passenger and once they landed, they contacted airport security to have the passenger removed", Kaprawi said.

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Malaysian Airlines released a statement confirming the incident.

Former AFL player Andrew Leoncelli told the ABC he was near the front of the plane and saw a man carrying a big object go towards the cockpit and become really agitated.

He was tackled by passengers who overpowered him and tied him up with belts.

Marks, who is in Australia on a student visa, checked out of a psychiatric facility on Wednesday (30 May), the day before he boarded the MH128 flight.

Passenger Arif Chaudery said he joined several others to subdue the man.

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Passengers started leaving the plane about 1.30am. The plane turned back to Melbourne airport when the incident began.

Malaysia Airlines has seen two major airline disasters in recent years.

The airline and authorities are investigating the incident, while Melbourne airport warns that there may be ongoing delays through the day as a result of the earlier shutdown.

The airline's cabin crew, with the help of a passenger, restrained the assailant on board flight MH128 to Kuala Lumpur.

Pictures and video posted online by passengers show heavily armed personnel boarding the plane after its return to Melbourne.

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