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Malaysian plane returns to airport after false bomb threat

Armed police have stormed a Malaysia Airlines flight, which was forced to return to Melbourne after a passenger tried to enter the cockpit claiming he had a bomb, officials say.

Passengers told of 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 the plane’s crew and later arrested.

“It is not a hijack. One disruptive passenger tried to enter the plane’s cockpit,” he told AFP.

“The passenger… claimed to have a bomb. But it was not a bomb but a power bank,” Aziz said. “Everyone on board is safe… He was taken out of the plane handcuffed by Australian security officers.”

Kuala Lumpur-bound Flight MH128 left Melbourne at 11:11pm (1311 GMT) on Wednesday but turned back shortly afterwards when a man allegedly threatened those on board, Australian police said.

“It is alleged that a man tried to enter the cockpit and threatened the safety of passengers and staff,” Victoria state police said in a statement, but added that he “did not gain entry to the cockpit” and was subdued.

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