Man arrested after bomb hoax note found on Australian airliner
Incident happened a day after a siege in Melbourne which police are treating as terrorism
A passenger was arrested after an Australian domestic airliner landed in a regional airport on Tuesday because of a note found near a toilet, police said.
Police would not comment on a report in The Australian newspaper alleging that the passenger wrote on a sick bag that he had stashed a bomb on the Virgin Australia ATR 72 twin-engine turboprop plane.
Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported that a single-word note was found near the toilet.
“Police and emergency services went to the airport after receiving information that a note was located in the toilet area of the aircraft,” a police statement said.
“The aircraft landed safely and a man was arrested.”
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Virgin said the 68-seat Flight 1174 from Sydney to the New South Wales state town of Albury was met by police “due to a security incident on board.”
Police said they took less than five minutes after the plane landed to get the passengers off.
Passenger Wendy Willett said she did not know about any security concerns until their plane had been surrounded by police.
“The minute we came to a halt, they started yelling, ‘Evacuate, evacuate,’” she told ABC.
Another passenger said he heard cabin crew saying: “Leave your luggage. Get out and run, run, run.”
But a Virgin official said the words apparently came from a passenger caught up in the commotion.
The passenger had not been charged by late Tuesday.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said police were treating a deadly siege on Monday in the southern city of Melbourne as an “act of terrorism” after a claim by the Islamic State group that one of its fighters was the gunman responsible
Additional reporting by Reuters