Man Threatens to Blow Up Plane, Gets Tied Up by Passengers

Cops say he had an 'amplifier-type' device
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 1, 2017 2:32 AM CDT
Passengers Tie Up Man Who Threatened to Blow Up Plane
A man who was arrested for trying to enter the cockpit of a Malaysia Airlines flight is driven to the Magistrates Court in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, June 1, 2017.   (David Crosling)

A Malaysia Airlines plane returned to Australia after a mentally ill passenger threatened to detonate a bomb and attempted to enter the cockpit before he was tackled and tied up by passengers, police say. The 25-year-old Sri Lankan man bought a ticket on the late-night flight to Kuala Lumpur after he was discharged from a Melbourne psychiatric hospital on Wednesday, Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton says. Flight 128 was about 10 minutes into a flight from Melbourne when the man walked from his economy seat to the cockpit door clutching an electronic device and threatening to blow up the plane, creating panic among passengers, the AP reports. Passengers subdued him and tied him up with belts.

Ashton describes the device the man carried as an "amplifier-type instrument." Passenger Andrew Leoncelli describes it as a portable music player "the size of a giant bowling ball." Leoncelli tells the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the man was "agitated" and repeatedly said: "I'm going to blow the plane up." The Airbus A330-300 carrying 337 passengers returned to the airport about 30 minutes after takeoff. Police have determined the man has no terrorist links or associates, Ashton says. Passengers complained that after the plane landed and police removed the man, they were kept on board with what they thought was an explosive device for 90 minutes. Police say the delay was necessary. (More Malaysia Airlines stories.)

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