Malaysia Airlines disruptive passenger accused of bomb threat

A Malaysia Airlines A330 takes off.
Montague Smith (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons

The passenger who was at the centre of an in-flight disturbance which resulted in a scheduled Malaysia Airlines flight turning back to Sydney yesterday has caused further problems, refusing to leave his prison cell to face court.

The passenger, the Canberra resident was formally charged on grounds of making a false statement regarding the threat to damage an aircraft, and failure to comply with cabin crew instructions.

According to Australian news source the Guardian, these offences carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to AUD $15,000.

With the matter due to be heard by a local court this morning Tuesday 15 August, the man caused a further disruption by refusing to leave the cell in which he was detained at Surrey Hills police station to attend court.

The court matter was then repeatedly adjourned while lawyers attempted to speak to the man.

Malaysia Airlines MH122 Sydney – Kuala Lumpur

Today’s events follow the incident which unfolded on Malaysia Airlines scheduled flight MH122 bound for Kuala Lumpur from Sydney yesterday, August 14.

The flight was still in Australian airspace when the man in question became disruptive, confronting cabin crewmembers and repeatedly stating that he was a “slave of Allah.”

Malaysia flight returns to Sydney following pax disruption


The flight crew made the decision to return to Sydney airport where the aircraft was met by members of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), who subsequently took the man into custody. The male passenger was then charged with making a bomb threat.

According to the AFP statement, “During the flight, a male passenger allegedly became disruptive and claimed to have explosives onboard.”

Passengers on board the flight alleged that the man had claimed that he had “something dangerous” in his bag. It is understood that he subsequently pulled a copy of the Koran from his bag.

Potential threats to aircraft security and the safety of passengers are taken extremely seriously by airline operators and aviation stakeholders.

In a statement following the incident, Malaysia Airlines said: “In the interests of safety, the commander of the flight made the decision to return to Sydney.”

“The flight, carrying 194 passengers and five crew onboard, landed safely at 3.47pm hours. The safety and comfort of our crew and passengers are of utmost importance to Malaysia Airlines.’

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
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