News World Bali hijack scare passenger won’t be charged

Bali hijack scare passenger won’t be charged

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A Queensland plumber will not be charged over causing a hijacking scare at Bali’s airport, with authorities now looking at the procedures leading to the false alarm.

Matt Christopher Lockley, 28, was aboard a Virgin Australia flight from Brisbane when he banged on the cockpit door, forcing cabin crew to restrain him.

The banging also caused the pilots to trigger an alert that had airforce and police officers standing by for the landing at Denpasar on Friday, expecting a hijacker.

Lockley has told police he woke from a sleep during the flight in a confused state and banged on he cockpit door thinking it was the toilet.

He also denies being drunk, and told police he had taken only Panadol, Voltaren and consumed Coca Cola before the flight.

Suryambodo Asmoro, Bali Police special crime director, on Sunday told reporters Lockley was allowed to leave hospital on Sunday and was questioned by aviation officials.

“Regarding the legal process, it will be conducted in Australia because what he did in that plane was within a plane registered in Australia,” he said.

In hospital, Lockley underwent drug and alcohol testing, the results of which have not been returned.

He was also allowed to recuperate from what police described as “exhaustion”.

They say Lockley came to Bali looking for his Indonesian wife, whom he hasn’t seen in weeks, and was in a state of stress.

Mr Asmoro says he does not know when Lockley will be deported.

Indonesian aviation officials are also looking into the circumstances surrounding the hijack alert.

Virgin Australia on Sunday released a statement saying International protocols require the crew to send an “unlawful interference code” when an individual attempts to enter the cockpit unlawfully.

It is entered to notify Air Traffic Control of the perceived threat, Virgin says.

“This is used by all airlines internationally to ensure the safety of passengers, crew and the aircraft,” the statement said.

“The captain and crew ensured the highest level of safety was maintained on flight VA41 and followed standard operating procedures.”

Following the aircraft’s landing on Friday, airport authorities said they received no communication from the plane for 30 minutes, forcing airforce officers to approach with caution.

They only boarded the plane after making visual contact, and found Lockley already detained, unarmed and police say he did not resist arrest.

However Virgin says its captain was in regular contact ahead of the landing.

“The captain was then in regular communication with Air Traffic Control in line with correct protocols to keep them informed of the status of the disturbance prior to landing,” its statement said.

Lockley has been visited by Australian consular staff and friends.