Malaysia Airlines flight forced to land over bomb scare

The company said flight MH128 flying from the Australian city to Kuala Lumpur was forced to turn back because of a "disruptive passenger".

Flight tracking website FlightRadar24 said the aircraft was only airborne for 14 minutes before performing a u-turn at around 11.30pm.

The company released a statement about the Melbourne incident, saying: "Malaysia Airlines would like to stress that at no point was the aircraft 'hijacked'".

However, the plane was forced to turn back by a disruptive passenger.

"Passengers are now exiting the plane and speaking to investigators", police said.

The Malaysia Airlines flight has since landed safely and the passenger has been apprehended by airport security.

Heroic Malaysia Airlines passengers tackled a man who tried to storm the cockpit of a plane armed with a "detonator". It had departed at 11:11 p.m. Melbourne time and returned at 11:41 p.m.

The incident came just months after Canberra called off the search for missing flight MH370 carrying 239 passengers and crew, after a vast underwater hunt off Australia s west coast failed to find the plane.

Malaysian media cited the country's deputy transport minister as saying the man is believed to be a Sri Lankan national and thought to have been drunk. "But it was not a bomb but a powerbank", Aziz said.

Pilots made a return to the airport after a passenger reportedly attempted to gain access to the cockpit, claiming that he had an explosive device on his person.

Photographs on Twitter taken by passengers show heavily armed police boarding the plane after its return to Melbourne.

"Some other passengers and crew tied the man down and (the) flight landed back at Melbourne Airport 25 minutes after takeoff".

In a few months after MH370 went missing, Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines together with the Australian authorities will be investigating the incident. "The airline wishes to apologise for the inconvenience caused", the airline said.

Passengers have been safetly removed from the plane are being accommodated at hotels or offered additional flights.

  • Anthony Vega