UPDATE: Sri Lankan passenger Manodh Marks subdued on Malaysian plane after bomb threat

Posted on 01 June 2017 by admin

Malaysia Airlines plane threat foiled by 'heroes', witness says

  A witness has described how passengers tackled a man who allegedly made a false bomb threat on a Malaysia Airlines plane. Flight MH128, bound for Kuala Lumpur, was forced to return to Melbourne after the man tried to enter the cockpit. The flight landed safely and the passenger was arrested, police said, adding it was not terror-related. One passenger said the suspect was carrying a "very unusual object", which police later said was not explosive. "He ran down the back aisle and three great Aussie heroes wrestled him to the ground and totally immobilised him," the witness, Andrew Leoncelli, told the BBC. The suspect was a 25-year-old Sri Lankan man who was released from a Melbourne psychiatric facility earlier on Wednesday, said Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton. Police initially treated it as a possible terrorism incident before determining it was "a case involving a mental health issue", the commissioner said. Police said the man was carrying a bluetooth speaker or something similar.

Malaysia's Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz bin Kaprawi described it as a "powerbank", the AFP agency said. Mr Leoncelli, a former professional Australian Rules football player, said it had two antennae and what appeared to be a smartphone input. He said the suspect told airline staff he needed to see the captain before becoming "really agitated" and making threats, including making button-pressing motions. "I went back to tell the other passengers there was a real threat here, we need to do something," Mr Leoncelli said. Of the passengers who then overpowered the man, he said: "I cannot tell you their names but they are good fellas." Earlier, Mr Leoncelli told Melbourne's 3AW radio station that the man threatened to "blow the plane up", prompting staff to scream for help. Malaysia Airlines said the Airbus A330, carrying 337 passengers and crew, was in the air for just 30 minutes of its eight-hour flight time before landing. Heavily armed police boarded the plane just before midnight local time (14:00 GMT) and placed the man under arrest. Mr Ashton defended what local media said was a 90-minute delay between the plane landing and police intervention. He said counter-terrorism officers had feared there may be other explosive devices or potential suspects on board. "If we had an incident where there were further explosives that were triggered, we could have had a mass casualty incident," he said. "Decisions had to be made about what was the safest way to get passengers off the plane." Mr Ashton said man had been living in Melbourne on a current visa, clarifying earlier information he was an Australian citizen. A number of flights were diverted following the incident, but the airport confirmed it was operating as normal. (BBC)

Malaysia Airlines attack: Lankan fails to appear in court.

Courtesy: Daily Mirror.

The 25-year-old Sri Lankan who was accused of threatening to blow up a Malaysia Airlines flight en route to Kuala Lumpur has failed to appear in court as he felt unsafe, International Business Times reported today quoting the lawyer of the accused.

Manodh Marks, a Sri Lankan living in Australia on a student visa, has been charged at the Magistrate’s Court in Melbourne with endangering the safety of an aircraft and making false threats. Both charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

The MH128 flight carrying over 330 passengers was forced to turn back to Melbourne just a few minutes after it took off when Marks tried to enter the cockpit. He had also threatened passengers with a device, claiming it to be explosives.

It was initially thought that Marks was carrying explosives, and the police had termed the incident on the plane as an act of terrorism. However, it was later revealed that Marks was just carrying a "speaker-type" object, authorities said.

Marks had been in custody but his lawyer has said he felt "vulnerable" in detention and asked for medical help.

"He has concerns for his safety in custody. He needs to see a mental health nurse urgently," his lawyer Tess Dunsford said after being questioned by Magistrate Susie Cameron over the reason for his helplessness.

Marks has a history of psychiatric illness and had just been released from a psychiatric facility, before he boarded the flight, police said.

No bail request has been filed on Mark's behalf. The matter has been listed for a committal hearing on 24 August.


Man threatening to bomb plane is the latest incident to hit beleaguered Malaysia Airlines [Olivia Harris/Reuters].

Passengers feared for lives after man with electronic device threatened to 'blow up' aircraft before being tackled.​

Man threatening to bomb plane is the latest incident to hit beleaguered Malaysia Airlines [Olivia Harris/Reuters]

Armed police stormed a Malaysia Airlines flight that was forced to return to Australia after a passenger tried to enter the cockpit claiming he had a bomb. 

"He was saying: 'I'm going to the blow the f…ing plane up, I'm going to blow the plane up,'" passenger Andrew Leoncelli told Australian Broadcasting Corp on Thursday.

"He was agitated, is the best description, 100 percent he was agitated," Leoncelli said.    

Passengers described fearing for their lives, but Malaysian Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said a Sri Lankan national, who appeared to have been drunk, was overpowered by passengers and crew and later arrested.    

"It is not a hijack. One disruptive passenger tried to enter the plane's cockpit," Aziz told AFP news agency.    

"The passenger… claimed to have a bomb. But it was not a bomb but a powerbank. Everyone on board is safe… He was taken out of the plane handcuffed by Australian security officers."   

Police Superintendent Andy Langdon said the suspect appeared to have a history of mental illness.     

shortly afterwards when the man allegedly threatened those on board, Australian police said.    

"We do not believe this is terrorist-related at the moment," Langdon said.    

While officials tried to play down the incident, passengers told of some 90 minutes of onboard drama and fear after take-off.    

A business class passenger, who identified himself as Andy, told Melbourne radio station 3AW the arrested man had threatened to "blow the plane up".    

"The staff screamed out 'I need some help, I need some help'. So I jumped up, undid my buckle, and approached him."    

Andy said the man ran to the back of the plane, where two other men grabbed and disarmed him of a "giant black thing" and "put hog ties on him".    

Langdon described the experience for passengers as "very traumatic", adding passengers and crew were "heroic".    

Passenger Arif Chaudery said he joined several others to subdue the man.    

"Families, kids, they were very scared, and some screaming … so three or four guys, we jumped as quickly as possible," he told Channel Nine.    

"We just put him on the floor and finally staff brought the belt, so we handcuffed him and tied his legs and put his face on the floor."    

Laura, who asked for her surname to be withheld, told ABC she feared for her life.    

"I thought the plane was going to go down, I thought the bomb was going to go off. I really did think I was going to die," she said.

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