A MALAYSIA Airlines flight was grounded in Melbourne on Wednesday night after a “lunatic” passenger tried to storm the cockpit and threatened to blow up the plane.
The Kuala Lumpur-bound plane was forced to turn back to Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport half an hour after takeoff when a man, who was allegedly drunk or under the influence of drugs, tried to storm the cockpit.
Passengers worked with the flight crew to subdue the man, who was holding an unidentified black object.
The wife of a man on board said passengers and crew tied the aggressive passenger down after he attacked an air hostess.
“He heard a lot of screaming and (an) air hostess calling out for help as a passenger attacked her,” Saiqa Chaudhery told ABC via Twitter.
“Some other passengers and crew tied the man down and (the) flight landed back at Melbourne Airport 25 minutes after takeoff.”
A passenger, who identified himself only as Andy, said he heard the passenger threaten to blow up the plane about 10 minutes after the plane took off.
“I could hear this idiot saying that he wanted to go in and see the pilot,” he told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
“The staff were saying, ‘Sit back down, sir, sit back down, sir’.
“He goes, ‘No, I’m not going to sit back down — I’m going to blow the plane up’.
“The staff screamed out, ‘I need some help, I need some help’. So I jumped up, undid my buckle, and approached him.
“I said, ‘Mate, what are you effing doing?’ And he said, ‘I’m going to blow the f***ing plane up, I’m going to blow the f***ing plane up. And I was going, oh my god, he’s f***ing insane.
“So, I took a step back. And I said to my friend, ‘Mate this guy’s serious. We’d better f***ing do something’.
“So, I approached him and he ran down the side and then he ended up going down the back of the plane.
“And then two lads grabbed him and disarmed him and bashed the crap out of him and put hog ties on him.”
Andy said the man was holding a watermelon-sized “giant black thing”. Others passengers described it as an “electronic frequency” device.
“It was huge, it was black and it had two black antennas coming off it, but it also looked like an iPhone jack. So it could have been just a beat box thing,” Andy said.
“I think the guy was just an idiot.”
One passenger wrote on Facebook that the man had issued a “midair terror threat”, but police denied the incident was terror-related.
“The guy was trying to open (the) cockpit and hijack the plane,” Melbourne man Dhana Sekaran posted.
“About eight guys, of course including me, jumped and restrained him.
“Thank god I am on board to sort this s*** out. Never thought I will be back to Melbourne this quick.”
Lisa Wood, whose father was on the plane, said a “lunatic” announced that he had “a bomb” about 20 minutes into the flight.
“Flight attendants have got fruit cake tied down in between seats,” she wrote on Facebook.
In an early-morning press conference, Victoria Police said the incident was not terror-related and that the passenger had a history of mental health issues.
Officers found no explosives on board.