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Plane forced to turn back after passenger tries to enter cockpit

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Plane forced to turn back after passenger tries to enter cockpit

Old 31st May 2017, 15:38
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Plane forced to turn back after passenger tries to enter cockpit

Malaysian Airlines plane forced to turn back to Melbourne after passenger tries to enter cockpit, officials say
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Old 31st May 2017, 16:47
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Just listened back on liveatc.

"Tower, we have a passenger trying to enter the cockpit"...

"Claiming to have an explosive device, tried to enter the cockpit, has been overpowered by passengers, however we would like to land and have the device checked out"

Sounded to me as though crew and ATC handled it well. Was in the air for about 15 minutes, successful (presume overweight) landing.

Last edited by mikeygd; 31st May 2017 at 17:03.
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Old 31st May 2017, 19:22
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A pax report of the incident from this SMH article, some seeming similarities to the recent AA incident LAX-HNL:

Former AFL player Andrew Leoncelli was sitting in business class, several seats away from the cockpit, when the incident unfolded. He described seeing a man carrying a large black cylindrical object which looked like [a] speaker, which appeared to have an on/off button and a charging port.

Mr Leoncelli said the passenger was "screaming" at the flight attendant saying "I need to see the captain" and walking to the front of the plane during take-off.

The passenger reportedly said: '"I've got a bomb and I'm going to f--king blow the plane up," he said.

The flight attendant yelled at the man to sit down and when he refused she called out for help.

Mr Leoncelli said at this point he unbuckled his seatbelt and went to confront the man who he said appeared agitated and kept repeating his threat.
"Literally he was eyeball to eyeball with me saying he was going to blow the plane up."

"He looked like a lunatic," he said.

"For some reason he lost his nerve and he ran... and he headed towards the back of the plane," he said.

"I hadn't done anything to him except confront him," he said.

Mr Leoncelli then said others on the plane were able to overpower the man.

Two young Australian men who were passengers on the flight "went to work on him and got him in the shackles good and proper, they were the heroes", said Mr Leoncelli. A picture taken by another passenger and posted to Twitter showed a man lying flat on his stomach on the floor of the plane with his hands bound behind his back with plastic handcuffs.
Malaysia Airlines flight turned back to Melbourne after 'threatening' passenger tried to enter cockpit

Twitter picture here:

https://twitter.com/saroki19/status/869954554481131520
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Old 31st May 2017, 19:56
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More details on the device and the pax encounter in this update:

PASSENGERS TELL HOW INCIDENT UNFOLDED

A passenger who identified himself as Andy [apparently Leoncelli from the post above - Airbubba] told 3AW how he tried to stop the alleged bomber.

“We literally took off, ten minutes into the take off, and I was sitting in business class 4A seat, and I could hear this idiot saying that he wanted to go in and see the pilot,” he said. “The staff were saying ‘sit back down sir, sit back down sir’. He goes, ‘no, I’m not going to sit back down – I’m going to blow the plane up’” he said. “The staff screamed out ‘I need some help, I need some help’. So I jumped up, undid my buckle, and approached him.”

“I said mate, what are you effing doing? And he said ‘I’m going to blow the f**king plane up, I’m going to blow the f**king plane up. And I was going, oh my God, he’s f**king insane.

“So, I took a step back. And I said to my friend, mate this guy’s serious. We’d better f**king do something,” he said. “So, I approached him and he ran down the side and then he ended up going down the back of the plane.”

“Then two lads grabbed him and disarmed him and mashed the crap out of him and put hog ties on him and took the giant black thing out of his hand,” he said.

Andy says the device in the man’s hand was “the size of a watermelon”.

“It was huge, it was black and it had two black antennaes coming off it, but it also looked like an iPhone jack. So it could have been just a beatbox thing,” he said. “I think the guy was just an idiot”.

Saiqa Chaudhery, whose husband was on the plane, told news.com.au that the man appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

“He heard a lot of screaming and (an) airhostess calling out for help as a passenger attacked her,” Ms Chaudhery said. “Some other passengers and crew tied the man down and (the) flight landed back at Melbourne Airport 25 minutes after takeoff.”
Malaysia Airlines flight MH 128 returns to Melbourne after incident on plane

A lot of recent bluetooth speakers have the USB charger function and could certainly have a battery (or worse) much larger than the one in the tablets or notebook computers.
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Old 31st May 2017, 20:42
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It appears that a couple of nice Australians already took care of that, per Mr Leoncelli's account. (Well done, gentlemen!) It will be interesting to see what Australian law enforcement can figure out about this person: unhinged person or a probe?
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Old 31st May 2017, 21:47
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It's being reported that he's a 25 yr-old Aussie with a history of mental illness: http://www.theage.com.au/business/av...31-gwhp8p.html
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Old 31st May 2017, 23:29
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In the article linked above a claim that the device was taped to the perp's chest:

Another caller, Russell, said his brother-in-law was on the plane, and described how the man had the device strapped to his body.

"Apparently a gentleman wearing a beanie stormed into the business class section of the aeroplane screaming that he wanted to see the pilot, and he had a device strapped to his chest," Russell told 3AW.

"Three or four people in the business class section I suppose abandoned their champagne and their orange juice and they gang-tackled him to the ground. They sat on him until they discovered the device, I think it was a transistor radio, gaffer taped to his chest."

Russell said that his brother-in-law described how, once the plane landed, the police stayed "about five miles away" from the plane.

"His words were [they were] 'probably having a meeting on occupational health and safety' on how they were going to get into the plane," Russell said.
A colleague who landed a military transport plane after a bomb threat years ago had a similar response from the fire crew upon landing. As instructed, he cleared the runway, set the brake and shut down the engines. The fire trucks came racing toward the plane and then stopped a few hundred feet away. He asked if he and his crew should evacuate and was given 'stand by'. He had seen enough and led by example in a rapid evacuation. He had a chat with the fire crew and was told that their orders were not to approach any closer until the 'all clear' was given. I guess that was to save the trucks and crash crew if there really was a bomb and it went off.
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Old 31st May 2017, 23:36
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Originally Posted by ricardian View Post
I'm sure they are still pretty sensitive to anything like this these days, after MH380
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Old 1st Jun 2017, 00:04
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More on the alleged delay in police response and deplaning of pax:

Terrified passengers were forced to sit with a device suspected of being a bomb for more than an hour as they waited for security to board the plane and investigate.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH128, which had departed Melbourne Airport at 11.11pm for Kuala Lumpur, looped back to Melbourne after the captain was alerted by a cabin crew of a passenger attempting to enter the cockpit.

The passenger was overpowered by passengers and the plane's crew and later arrested by heavily armed security officers.

A passenger named Andy told 3AW the people on board were scared for their lives.

"We sat for an hour and 20 mins waiting for the police to come," he said.

"Everyone was sh--ing themselves."

Donna, the girlfriend of one of the passengers on board flight MH128, alerted 3AW to the incident on board the plane shortly after 11pm last night over concerns police didn't act swiftly enough.

"They've got this suspicious object from this guy which is now sitting at the front of the plane," she said.

"They've been sitting on the tarmac there for 40 minutes - everyone just wants to get off the plane."

She said her boyfriend, who is yet to be identified, had asked her "call everyone" because passengers could see police on the tarmac but that there was "no people coming in to get them".

"They are all freaking out on this plane. They're waiting for the stairs to come but it's been 40 minutes," she said.

"He's telling me to call everyone to put pressure on the police to get these guys off the plane. These guys just want to get off this plane, because they're scared that this guy could blow up this plane."
MH128: Passengers forced to wait at Melbourne Airport with 'bomb' on board - 9news.com.au
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Old 1st Jun 2017, 03:02
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MH128: Bomb threat man had just been released from psychiatric care, police say

The Sri Lankan national who allegedly threatened to blow up a Malaysia Airlines plane was released from a psychiatric facility hours before boarding the flight, police say.
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Old 1st Jun 2017, 05:08
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Quite a few probing questions will come out of this incident, I am sure; some related to the alleged perpetrator's background and events occuring before he even got to the airport.
But I am personally interested to know how he managed to get a large (as a watermelon) explosive-like device through the scanner and on to the aircraft.
I guess it is possible that it just wasn't that bomb-like at all. But, in that case, was it sufficiently un-bomb-like that it could have been used to conceal something entirely more dangerous?
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Old 1st Jun 2017, 05:52
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Captain still in charge

The Australian Govt settled a lot of ex Tamil Tiger type refugees about 4 years ago so any threat from that ethnic group has got to be assessed in the light of their history.

If you had an overpowered suspect onboard but a suspicious device still sitting on the cabin floor, would you wait for the police tactical response?
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Old 1st Jun 2017, 06:34
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Personally, I think I'd open the aircraft door and pitch the suspicious device just as hard and far as I could. Then I would strongly consider pitching the idiot out of the plane - head first.
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Old 1st Jun 2017, 07:43
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Today's Times. Malaysia's deputy transport minister: The alleged bomb turned out to be a mobile phone charger. The size of a watermelon? Big enough for people to see it strapped to his chest? Somebody has it wrong, and I don't think it is the passengers.
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Old 1st Jun 2017, 08:36
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There are battery-based chargers - to be charged up and carried as a reserve.

Small ones are about the same size as a phone, flat or cylindrical, while some are quite a bit larger, and might power even a PC for a while.

Some articles refer to a powerbank, so I assume it's at the large end of the range, maybe tablet size but a bit thicker, but even so water melon seems an odd metaphor for something that is probably flat.
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Old 1st Jun 2017, 09:46
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As usual, a typical overreaction by our authorities.
Let's over think the situation into a full blown, all out terrorist attack.
Absolutely no evidence to support it.
The crew should have evacuated the aircraft straight away,
let the bozzo's on the ground sort it there.
(No offence to the crew)
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Old 1st Jun 2017, 11:04
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Lead story from 9 Sydney

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Old 1st Jun 2017, 18:43
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Originally Posted by ekw View Post
The Australian Govt settled a lot of ex Tamil Tiger type refugees about 4 years ago so any threat from that ethnic group has got to be assessed in the light of their history.
The police probably knew early on that he was Sinhalese, not Tamil from his name in passenger records.

His Facebook page has the familiar 'drugs and thugs' theme of so many people of his age group.

As I remarked earlier, this incident has similarities to the one a few days ago discussed here:

http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/5...es-flight.html

In the HNL incident the guy tried to move forward, possibly toward the cockpit, and made threats. He was confronted and blocked and ran to the back where he was restrained by other passengers. A notebook computer was deemed to be a potential explosive device and treated as such.

When AA 31 landed in HNL, the police and FBI boarded immediately and removed the 'disruptive passenger' and presumably the notebook computer.

I'm reasonably sure that if the AA captain had thought an evacuation was warranted and gave the order, he would have the support of his union and probably his airline as well.

Originally Posted by ekw View Post
If you had an overpowered suspect onboard but a suspicious device still sitting on the cabin floor, would you wait for the police tactical response?
In the MEL incident, leaving the pax onboard with a potential explosive device and a restrained possible terrorist for over an hour while someone makes a decision seems unreasonable to me as a pilot. I would have called for the stairs to deplane. If they didn't come in a timely manner, pop the slides, everybody except the restrained passenger out.

Again, I'm thinking as a pilot, not as a SWAT team member or counter-terrorism expert.

Originally Posted by jugofpropwash View Post
Personally, I think I'd open the aircraft door and pitch the suspicious device just as hard and far as I could. Then I would strongly consider pitching the idiot out of the plane - head first.
The FedEx DC-10 hijacker Auburn Calloway was restrained and left on the plane for be removed by first responders. He later claimed that he was improperly evacuated and should have had priority deplaning over the three pilots he so savagely attacked.

Last edited by Airbubba; 1st Jun 2017 at 19:03.
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Old 2nd Jun 2017, 11:14
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I was very surprised that nobody did pop the slides!
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 11:32
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Whoever (mis)handled that police response should be prosecuted for negligence and reckless endangerment of the passengers and crew. Sitting around and evading decision making as an emergency services officer is unacceptable.
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