Drunk Virgin Australia Passenger Tries To Break Into Cockpit, Sparks Hijack Scare
Passengers on a flight to Bali had a scare Friday when a man tried to break into the plane's cockpit. The allegedly drunken passenger caused a hijack scare on the Virgin Australia flight, and was arrested upon landing in Indonesia. Matt Lockley, who sparked the false alarm, prompted the pilot to issue a hijack alert about an hour before arriving in Indonesia from Brisbane, Australia.
“There was no hijacking at all,” Heru Sudjatmiko, airport manager for Virgin Australia, told Indonesia's Metro TV. “It was only a miscommunication.”
Prior to being handcuffed by the crew and placed in the rear of the aircraft, Lockley, an Australian national, was acting aggressively and pounding on the cockpit door. The Boeing 737 carrying 137 passengers and seven crew members was escorted away from the terminal by military trucks after landing, and other flights were grounded and diverted to other airports. No one was injured. In the meantime, Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport was temporarily closed.
One passenger on another flight preparing for take-off told AFP his pilot announced the airport was on lockdown and they were "delayed indefinitely because a hijack was going on...about 150 meters away from us."
Business resumed as usual an hour later when the Virgin plane was taken off the tarmac. Virgin Airlines issued a statement Friday saying that "at no point was the safety of the aircraft in question."
Officials said police "are having difficulty" finding the 28-year-old's intentions, as Lockley was still in "an unstable condition," the Guardian reports. One crew member said he appeared "paranoid." His blood is being tested for alcohol and drugs, and he is in custody of Indonesian authorities.