A Malaysia Airlines flight from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur was diverted back to Melbourne 20 minutes after take-off because of a disruptive passenger.
MH128, which took off from Tullamarine Airport at 11.11pm local time, was to arrive at Kuala Lumpur at 5.28am today.
A MAS statement yesterday said the flight turned back to Melbourne “after the captain was alerted by a cabin crew (member) of a passenger attempting to enter the cockpit”.
“Safety and security are of Malaysia Airlines’ utmost priority. The aircraft is currently on the remote bay and waiting for security assistance to arrive. We would like to stress that at no point was the aircraft hijacked,” it added.
According to a tweet by @MELflights, an official information service for Melbourne Airport on Twitter, passengers began boarding Flight MH128 at Gate 3 at 10.49pm.
The flight landed safely at Melbourne at 11.41pm and airport security apprehended the suspect, said to be a Sri Lankan man.
“Malaysia Airlines, together with Australian authorities, will be investigating the incident. The airline wishes to apologise for the inconvenience caused.
“Disembarking passengers will be screened by Australian authorities, and will be accommodated at hotels. They will be offered the next available flight or on other carriers,” added the airline.
Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Seri Aziz Kaprawi confirmed that a disruptive passenger had caused the flight to be redirected.
“The crew managed to handle the passenger and once they landed, they contacted airport security to have the passenger removed.
“I have no information yet as to whether the plane will be taking off again soon, but it is believed that the suspect was drunk,” he said when contacted.
As of press time, flight tracking portal FlightAware did not have any updates on MH128, other than confirming the Airbus A330-300 aircraft has landed at Melbourne, thus aborting what should have been an eight-hour non-stop journey to KLIA. – The Star Online