Hijacked Virgin Australia Plane in Bali False; Drunk and Unruly Passenger Arrested for Trying to Enter Cockpit

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By Reissa Su | April 26, 2014 7:33 PM EST

Reports of a Virgin Australia plane being hijacked and forced to land in Indonesia's Bali airport were denied by the Australian airline's representative Heru Sudjatmiko.

Reuters
A Qantas Airlines Boeing 737 plane sits next to a Virgin Australia Boeing 737 plane at the Port Hedland airport in the Pilbara region of western Australia December 3, 2013. REUTERS

Speaking from Bali's international airport, Mr Sudjatmako said a drunk and unruly passenger had attempted to enter the plane's cockpit when he displayed aggressive behaviour. Virgin Australia's cabin crew restrained and handcuffed the man.

Virgin Australia said the message relayed to personnel in air traffic control about a cockpit breach had caused the airport to respond to a "worst case scenario" which lead to the misinterpretation.

Indonesian media had erroneously reported a "hijacking" of the Virgin Australia plane which eventually made the rounds in social media networks. A post on Twitter by AFP was retweeted over a hundred times with people asking for specific details about what they thought was a hijacked aircraft.

The drunken passenger is now in the custody of the Indonesian police for further questioning.

The Virgin Australia plane is at the tarmac of Denpasar airport. Indonesian air force authorities have confirmed that all passengers and crew were safe as they were told to evacuate.

In Virgin Australia's Facebook page, the airline company said, "There are incorrect reports that a Virgin Australia aircraft was hijacked en 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."

One of the passengers of a Garuda Indonesia flight in Bali airport, Palani Mohan, said that the captain of his plane had announced that there will be delays in take-off because of the alleged hijacking of the Virgin Australia plane 150 metres away.

Mr Mohan saw five vehicles including military trucks with army personnel rushing to the Virgin Australia plane. He saw the plane move away with convoy of armed security forces. His plane's flight attendant informed him that it was being moved to a different area of the Bali airport.

As of press time, Bali airport remained in "lockdown." Mr Mohan said they were told that no planes were allowed in or out of the airport. No passengers were also allowed to leave their plane. 

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(Photo: Reuters / )
A Qantas Airlines Boeing 737 plane sits next to a Virgin Australia Boeing 737 plane at the Port Hedland airport in the Pilbara region of western Australia December 3, 2013. REUTERS
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