Melbourne Airport has been placed on lockdown after a passenger tried to storm the cockpit of a plane claiming to have a bomb. The incident took place on Malaysia Airlines Flight 128.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH128 from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur was forced to return to Australia after about an hour in the air around midnight local time. MH128 left Melbourne at 11:11pm and reached 6400 feet before turning around and landing at 11:41pm.
In a statement, Malaysia Airlines confirmed that a “disruptive passenger” attempted to enter the cockpit but was subdued by other passengers. Local media are reporting that the passenger claimed to have explosives. The plane turned around after the captain “was alerted by a cabin crew [member] of a passenger attempting to enter the cockpit,” Malaysia Airlines said. According to some media reports citing passengers, the man in question was holding an “electronic frequency” device or claimed he had explosives.
Australian Federal Police have confirmed that they are “responding to an incident with at least one passenger Melbourne Airport.”
The Malaysia Airlines spokesman said: “MH128 departed Melbourne Airport at 11.11pm and was to arrive Kuala Lumpur at 5.28am on June 1 made a turn back to Melbourne after the operating captain was alerted by a cabin crew of a passenger attempting to enter the cockpit.”
“MH128 safely landed in Melbourne Airport at 11.41pm. The aircraft is currently on the remote bay and waiting for security assistance to arrive at the aircraft.”
A significant portion around the airport has been closed off and emergency crews reportedly met the plane at the airport. All flights have reportedly been suspended and incoming aircraft have been diverted to nearby Avalon Airport.
No injuries have been reported at this time.
Melbourne Airport, colloquially known as the Tullamarine airport, is the primary airport serving the city of Melbourne, and the second busiest airport in Australia. It was opened in 1970 to replace the nearby Essendon Airport. Melbourne Airport services 33 million passengers per year.