With the uncertainties still trailing a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane that disappeared last month with 239 passengers onboard, a Virgin Australia plane has reportedly been forced to land at Bali airport today after a suspected hijacking.
According to Indonesian officials, a passenger reportedly tried to enter the plane’s cockpit and the pilot described the action as a hijack.
It is not yet known if the plane was forced to land by people on the plane or whether it was escorted in by fighter jets.
However, the passenger, who is said to be drunk, has been reported to have been arrested.
* An instagram picture of the Virgin plane after it was forced to land in Bali
“We got information that a 737-800 from Brisbane to Bali has been hijacked,’ spokesman Hadi Tjahjanto told MetroTV television station, adding it was a Virgin flight.
‘The pilot indicated that the plane has been hijacked,’ senior transport ministry official Harry Bhakti said on MetroTV.
‘There’s an information that a passenger tried to get into a cockpit, we are investigating.’
A passenger on a Garuda flight that was about to take off from Bali, Palani Mohan, told Dailymail reporter: ‘The captain of my plane made an announcement saying we were delayed indefinitely because a hijack was going on in Bali airport, about 150 metres away from us.
‘I saw at least five vehicles including military-style trucks, filled with men in uniform, rushing towards the plane.
‘Then the Virgin plane taxied away, followed by the convoy of security forces. The flight attendant said it’s been taken off to a different part of the airport.
‘Bali airport seems to be in lockdown, we’ve been told no planes will be departing or arriving. The pilot’s not allowing anyone off our plane.’
Virgin Blue Airlines, also known as Virgin Australia, is the country’s second largest airline.
Started in 2000 with just two planes, within a decade it was expanded to serve 29 cities in Australia and destinations in New Zealand as well as Bali in Indonesian, Phuket in Thailand, Abu Dhabi in the UAE and Los Angeles.
Based in Brisbane, it was set up Sir Richard Branson and Brett Godfrey.