A man who threatened to blow up a Malaysia Airlines flight en route to Kuala Lumpur has been named as Sri Lankan national Manodh Marks.
Marks, who is in Australia on a student visa, checked out of a psychiatric facility on Wednesday (30 May), the day before he boarded the MH128 flight.
The plane carrying more than 330 passengers was forced to turn back to Melbourne just 14 minutes after it took off when Marks claimed he was carrying explosives and tried to enter the cockpit. All passengers safely disembarked from the plane.
Andrew Leoncelli tackled Marks to the ground with six other passengers. He told the Sydney Morning Herald that Marks was screaming "I've got a bomb and I'm going to blow the plane up."
"Literally he was eyeball to eyeball with me saying he was going to blow the plane up," he said. "He looked like a lunatic. For some reason he lost his nerve, he ran and headed towards the back of the plane."
The item Marks claimed was a bomb turned out to be a battery pack, according to Malaysia transport minister Abdul Aziz bin Kaprawi.
Marks was charged at the Magistrates Court in Melbourne with endangering the safety of an aircraft and making false threats. Both charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
His lawyer Tess Dunsford told the magistrate that her client suffers from a psychiatric illness and would not be applying for bail. She added that she was concerned about Marks' safety if he remained in custody.