Passenger held in Sydney after 'emergency incident' on Malaysia Airlines flight

Flight MH122 to Kuala Lumpur was forced to return to Sydney Airport less than three hours after leaving

A Malaysia Airlines plane at Sydney Airport at an earlier date. Getty Images
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A passenger has been arrested following an “emergency incident” that forced a Malaysia Airlines flight bound for Kuala Lumpur to turn back to Sydney Airport, police said on Monday.

Flight MH122 left at 1.40pm local time but turned around over north-western New South Wales and landed back in Sydney at 3.47pm.

The airline said the flight had to return due to a "disruptive passenger on board".

“In the interest of safety, the commander of the flight made a decision to return to Sydney,” Malaysia's national airline said in a statement.

Australian police launched an emergency plan and evacuated the Airbus A330.

Police said a 45-year-old man was arrested “without incident”.

“There is no impending threat to the community,” officers said.

“The man is expected to be charged later tonight."

Reports in Australian media said a passenger had threatened staff and passengers.

The plane was thought to be carrying 194 passengers and five crew.

It was parked on the end of a runway hours later with emergency vehicles nearby, according to Nine News.

Sydney Airport officials said they were supporting “emergency agencies in the management of an incident”.

“The airport is operational with flights arriving and departing,” they said.

Thirty-two domestic flights were cancelled – 16 inbound and 16 out – with delays of up to 90 minutes for others.

No international flights were cancelled.

This is a developing story ...

Updated: August 14, 2023, 11:10 AM