'Bomb' forces plane back to Australia

2012-05-23 14:06
Sydney - Emergency crews raced to Melbourne Airport on Wednesday when a packed passenger aircraft was forced to return after a soft drink can with the word "bomb" scribbled on it was found onboard, police said.

The Australian Federal Police was called in and at least 15 fire trucks were on stand-by as the Air Mauritius Airbus A340, carrying close to 200 people, touched down at an isolated part of the airport.

The aircraft, which was bound for Mauritius, had left Melbourne as scheduled but about an hour into the flight the captain was made aware that a suspicious object had been found.

"The object was a soft drink can with the word 'bomb' written on it," Victoria Police said in a statement.

"The plane returned to Melbourne and landed safely... with all relevant agencies being activated in response to the matter."

Police said no threats were received in relation to the object and they were still trying to ascertain who first noticed the item and how it came to be on board.

The aircraft, which was carrying more than 180 passengers and nine crew, was being inspected by the explosives squad and all baggage would also be screened, police added.

No one has been arrested and Melbourne Airport is operating as normal.

Air Mauritius said the captain decided to turn Flight Mk943 back to Melbourne "following the discovery of a suspicious item on board".

"Air Mauritius wishes to reiterate that the safety of passengers and crew are its top-most priority at all times," the airline added in a statement.

Read more on:    australia  |  security  |  air travel

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