Passengers on disrupted Malaysia Airlines flight MH128 return home after bomb scare

VIDEO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

SEPANG, KUALA LUMPUR (The Star/Asia News Network) - Passengers on board the disrupted Malaysia Airlines flight MH128 reunited with family and friends when the aircraft touched down in Kuala Lumpur early Friday (June 2) morning.

There was an emotional reunion when Ms Sarah Tan was greeted by her father at the arrival hall in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 2.30am.

The 22-year-old who was visiting her sisters in Melbourne said that it was a very terrifying experience as she did not know if the airplane would "blow up".

"I don't think I'll fly anymore," she said.

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MH128 flight was rescheduled to operate on MH128D, carrying 84 passengers from the previous Melbourne-to-Kuala Lumpur flight.

The flight was forced to return to Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport shortly after taking off on Wednesday night when a 25-year-old Sri Lankan man allegedly tried to enter the cockpit by threatening to bomb the plane.

Manodh Marks was said to be mentally unstable and had only just been released from a psychiatric facility.

Passengers and crew tackled and tied him up with seat belts until the flight landed.

Fintech start-up chief executive officer Emerson Tan who was sitting in business class recalled the moment Marks hit the door of the cockpit while allegedly making bomb threats.

"He was very agitated, very disturbed. He just decided to go up and bash on the door, wanting to speak to the pilot, (and) made some threats.

 

"Some of us got up to actually help the flight crew but he ran to the back of the plane, and everyone jumped on him. All I could see was literally just one shoe sticking out of that pile of people on top of him," the 41-year-old said.

 

Mr Tan, who is in Malaysia to visit relatives, said that Malaysia Airlines had done a "good job" under the circumstances.

"The inconvenience we experienced was simply a symptom of the times. I don't think it's Malaysia Airlines' fault or the Australian authorities' fault, it is just the way things are in this present crazy environment," he said.

Ms Jolene Teo, 39, an Australian permanent resident echoed Mr Tan's sentiments on the way the airline handled the situation, saying the incident.

"The passengers and crew were very good as they held him down very quickly and we were all very safe," she said, adding that the delay on the tarmac for one-to-two hours was appropriate as the authorities had to "follow proper procedure".

Mr Ang Teck Huat, 56, who was in Melbourne to visit his children, said it took less than 10 minutes for the passengers and crew to subdue Marks. He recalled that some passengers had to sit on him.

Mr Ang said Marks then told those who had pinned him down that he had wanted to test the airlines' security.

Mr Navin Ambrose, 35, who was travelling in Melbourne with his wife Shimi and daughter Sade, initially thought there was a medical emergency on the plane.

He added that he was just glad to return to Malaysia.

"Standing here being able to complain or think about all that, we are very fortunate, it could have been very different," he said.

Marks has since been arrested and charged with recklessly endangering the safety of an aircraft, making threats or false statements and threatening to destroy, damage or endanger the safety of an aircraft or kill or injure someone on board.