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Mystery of man who ‘tried to break into Qantas cockpit’

July 15, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Mystery surrounds the fate of a passenger who earlier this month allegedly grew so enraged about his in-flight entertainment monitor not working that he tried to break into the cockpit on a Qantas flight from Sydney to Manila. Air marshals and cabin crew seized, restrained and arrested the man.

The plane continued to Manila and media in both the Philippines and Australia reported that the man was detained and sent back to Australia on the return flight. But that does not seem to have been the case.

Sydney’s Daily Telegraph identified the angry man as Mamudu Kamara, travelling on Qantas flight QF19. The paper said his nationality was Australian and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) confirmed that, adding that he was aged 33. Publications in both Australia and the Philippines published a picture of the man handcuffed and under arrest in Manila.Arrest at Manila

Shortly after the incident, the AFP warned that “the consequences could have been disastrous” if the cockpit had been breached. The AFP issued a general warning to airline passengers about “behaving inappropriately on commercial aircraft”.

“It will be alleged that the man engaged in abusive conduct toward the flight service crew, after which he ran to the front of the aircraft and attempted to open the cockpit door,” the AFP stated.

“The man was detained by authorities in Manila, where he is expected to face legal proceedings under Philippine law.”

Newspapers in the Philippines the following day said the man was detained by the Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Group (PNP-ASG) – only to be sent packing, straight back to Australia.

A report headed “Aussie sent back after causing plane ruckus” in the online edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the most widely read broadsheet newspaper in the Philippines, stated that: “The Australian underwent documentation at the Naia immigration office and a medical checkup at the PNP-ASG clinic. He was sent back to Sydney on the Qantas flight’s return trip about an hour later.”

The paper continued: “Since the alleged offense was committed on board an Australian plane, Australian law applied and Kamara would be charged in Australia, ASG officials said.”

Australian news outlets echoed that line. But then things went very quiet. No subsequent charges were reported and the man’s return to Australia, if it happened, went unseen.

Intrigued, e-Global Travel Media phoned the AFP in Canberra to find what was going on.

The AFP looked into it.

“As far as we are aware, the offender is still in Manila,” they said on Friday.

Written by Peter Needham

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