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PASSENGERS on a Virgin Australia flight from Sydney to Albury jumped 1.2 metres from the plane onto the tarmac after being told to “get out and run, run, run” as soon as the plane landed.
A passenger on the 8.05am flight told AAP that passengers were urgently evacuated as soon as the plane landed at Albury Airport on Tuesday morning.
The doors of the plane were said to be “ripped off” and passengers were told to leave their luggage.
A passenger on the 68-seater turboprop was arrested on the tarmac and taken away by police.
Virgin Australia said that it was a passenger who said “get out and run, run, run” and rather than wait for the stairs, those on board jumped down to the tarmac.
NSW Police confirmed there had been an incident at the airport and the passengers were assembled on the tarmac where a man wearing a red jacket and red hat was arrested based on information provided by the cabin crew.
“The man didn’t seem to resist the arrest,” a passenger told AAP.
Police asked the passengers — there were 42 on board — if anyone had any issues with the man and spoke to the people who had been seated near him.
The arrested passenger was said to be calm throughout the flight and got up and went to the bathroom once.
News Corp Australia understands the man left a one-word threat on a note in the bathroom, which was found just prior to landing at 9.35am.
The contents of the note are under investigation but it is believed to have contained a bomb threat. The Australian reported that he allegedly wrote the threat on the sick bag provided in his seat, stating there was a ‘bomb’.
Police officers board the Virgin Australia flight after the passengers were evacuated after a threatening note was found on a sick bag in the toilet. Picture: Prime 7Sourcerime
A man has been arrested on the tarmac at Albury airport after an incident on a Virgin flight from Sydney. Picture: Prime 7Sourcerime
Virgin Australia has provided reassurance there was never any danger to those on board.
A spokeswoman said a full search of the aircraft was conducted by local police and the plane cleared of any potential danger.
“The matter is now in the hands of the NSW Police,” she said.
The incident comes less than a week after a Malaysia Airlines flight was forced to return to Melbourne after a man demanded to see the pilot and threatened to explode a device he claimed was a bomb.
Passengers restrained the man, and removed the device, a bluetooth speaker, from his possession.
The A330 landed safely, but passengers then had to wait 90 minutes for police to board and arrest the man, who had recently been released from a psychiatric hospital.
The wait has been criticised by aviation experts who said getting passengers off the plane should have been the first priority after landing.
Michelle McNamara, who works for a car hire company in the Albury airport terminal, said plain-clothed police, uniformed officers, firefighters and ambulance crews closed off half the terminal during the operation.
“It’s normally quiet, it’s Albury Airport,” she told AAP.
“It’s a bit concerning. With all that’s happening in the world it makes you think the worst.”
This article first appeared on www.news.com.au
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