Drunk passenger causes hijacking scare

Virgin Airlines are denying media reports a flight from Brisbane has been hijacked and forced to land in Bali. Photo / AP
Virgin Airlines are denying media reports a flight from Brisbane has been hijacked and forced to land in Bali. Photo / AP

A drunk passenger who tried to force his way into the cockpit of a Virgin Australia flight caused a hijacking scare.

The flight from Brisbane to Bali landed safely at Denpasar airport in Bali, and the airline said all passengers were safe.

Early reports were that the plane had been hijacked, but a statement on Virgin's facebook page refuted this.

"There are incorrect reports that a Virgin Australia aircraft was hijacked on route to Denpasar. This is not correct. The aircraft in question has landed safely and at no point was the safety of our passengers ever in question,'' the statement said.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Virgin Australia airport manager at Ngurah Rai, Heru Sudjatmiko, saying a drunk passenger on flight VA41 had tried to get into the cockpit of the plane but had been stopped by the crew.

Mr Heru said the man was handcuffed and put into a rear seat of the Boeing 737-800.

Hijacking reports were "clearly a miscommunication'', and the pilot had sent a distress call and told air traffic control that the plane was hijacked.

"I don't know why that happened.''

ABC News reported Palani Mohan, who was on a Garuda Indonesia flight taking off from Bali, as saying military-style trucks had rushed towards the plane.

"The captain of my plane made an announcement saying we were delayed indefinitely because a hijack was going on in Bali airport, about 150 metres away from us.

"I saw at least five vehicles including military-style trucks, filled with men in uniform, rushing towards the plane.

"Bali airport seems to be in lockdown, we've been told no planes will be departing or arriving.''

Virgin later issued a statement saying that all 137 passengers and 7 crew had disembarked the aircraft.

"There was a disruptive passenger on board and the pilot notified authorities in advance of landing, as per standard operating procedures,'' the statement said.

"The passenger was unarmed and is now in the custody of the Indonesian authorities.''


Do you know anyone on Virgin Flight VA41? Email Newsdesk@nzherald.co.nz

- APNZ

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