Photographer: Charles Pertwee/Bloomberg

Bomb Threat From Passenger Forces Malaysia Air to Land Plane

  • Flight returned to Melbourne after man tried to enter cockpit
  • Australian police say man suffering from mental illness

A Malaysia Airlines Bhd. plane returned to Melbourne after a passenger claiming to have a bomb tried to enter the cockpit.

Flight 128 to Kuala Lumpur landed safely at Melbourne airport late last night after passengers and crew tackled and restrained the man, who’s believed to have mental health issues, Australian police told reporters Thursday.

Officers who boarded the plane and detained the Australian national quickly ascertained the electronic device he’d carried in his backpack wasn’t a bomb. Police weren’t treating it as a terrorist incident.

The airline, which had two fatal plane crashes in 2014, said in a statement the plane landed safely at 11:41 p.m., only about 30 minutes after taking off. Passengers disembarked and were screened by Australian authorities, the airline said, and stressed that “at no point was the aircraft hijacked.”

Images posted to social media appeared to show heavily armed officers in camouflage outfits and bullet-proof vests on board the plane. Another photo showed a man face down on the floor with his arms tied behind his back.

Police praised the “heroic” actions of the passengers and crew.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing vanished en route in March 2014 in one of the most mysterious events in modern aviation history. This January, authorities called off a search for the jet. The carrier lost another aircraft when MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in 2014.

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