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Student Makes Bomb Threat on Malaysian Airline
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Manodh Marks. Photo courtesy of ABC.

Summary: Passengers tackled a 25-year-old man who threatened to blow up an airplane in flight. 

On Thursday, a mentally disturbed culinary student grabbed a flight attendant’s arm and told almost 300 passengers that he had a bomb. While he tried to use the woman as a shield to get into the cockpit of Malaysia Airlines Flight 128, his fellow passengers mobilized and took him down, The Washington Post said.


The assailant was on a flight from Australia to Malaysia. Officials identified the man as Manodh Marks, 25, a Sri-Lankan who was studying to be a chef while living in Australia on a student visa. Authorities said that he appeared to be mentally ill and seems to have no ties to terrorist groups.

Passenger Andrew Leoncelli told The Australian Broadcasting Group that Marks was “agitated.”

“He was saying, ‘I’m going to blow the f‑‑‑ing plane up, I’m going to blow the plane up,’” Leoncelli said. “He was agitated, is the best description; 100 percent, he was agitated.”

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Another account said that when Marks grabbed the flight attendant and headed for the cockpit, she screamed. Then the passengers mobilized to take him down.

“In that one second, there were four of us out of our seats and we pounced on him; he just didn’t expect it at all,” Scott Lodge told Sky News Australia. “All of a sudden, someone has him in a chokehold and got his arm behind his back, and the other guy eventually choked him and he passed out.”

After the passengers subdued him with a chokehold, they tied him up with belts, and the pilot turned the plane around, returning to Australia. SWAT team members stormed the plane and apprehended the man. The rest of the passengers were deboarded.

Marks had only been in the air for ten minutes before he made his bomb threat, according to local police. He had held an amplifying device and pretended that was a detonator.

After an investigation, authorities determined there was no bomb. Marks was charged with making false threats and endangering the safety of an aircraft. He faces a decade in prison if convicted. So far, he has not entered a plea, and his court date is set for August 24. He has also not been issued bail.

According to the Associated Press, Marks’ lawyer Tess Dunsford said that her client has a “psychiatric illness.”

Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton seemed to confirm Dunsford’s statement. He said that Marks had been released from a mental hospital on Wednesday and soon after purchased his airline ticket.

Source: The Washington Post 

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