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Bomb hoax

TWO Bass Coast men found themselves in the centre of a chilling bomb hoax during their flight from Melbourne to Malaysia last Wednesday.

Cape Paterson’s Fabio Contu and Woolamai’s Troy Joyner were instrumental in apprehending the hoax bomber and put their own lives at risk.

While the threat has since been declared a hoax, passengers and crew on board thought the incident was real at the time.

The terror began just 10 minutes after the plane took off, when a crew member asked a male passenger to sit down but he refused to do so.

“The man started running towards the front of the plane; it looked like he was carrying something. He said he had a bomb and he was taking it to the pilot,” Troy said.

“We sat stunned with what we had just heard. I looked up the aisle to see what was happening and I noticed the male steward on the phone trying to call the pilot. I could see the panic was starting to set in. I could hear the cabin crew talking in a different language with panic in their voice.

“Fab and I, and I imagine the rest of the passengers, were starting to feel nervous and scared that there was a bomb on the plane, and the man was going to blow us up. A minute later, the man came running back towards us. Fab and I knew it was serious; we both feared for our lives.

“At this point, a mature female stewardess told the bomber to stop and put herself in the aisle, blocking his pathway. As he approached, she yelled out ‘Help’. We didn’t need any more instruction. Fab and I jumped out of our seats.

“The man ran into the stewardess. I grabbed him by the neck and put him in choker hold. Fab was right behind me and grabbed the passenger around the torso.”

Other passengers were supporting Troy and Fab by providing instruction and encouragement, telling them to “keep the man’s hands away from his body”.

Fabio held the man and could feel there something hard and plastic under his shirt, so he used his left arm to lift the man’s shirt up.

“I saw a black device about 40 centimetres round and six inches high. I ripped it off the offender and passed it to a nearby passenger; then I checked his hands to make sure he wasn’t holding a trigger mechanism. His hands were empty,” Fabio said.

By this time, other passengers and crew had hold of the man’s legs.

They put the offender on the ground chest down, and Fabio secured the man’s arms behind his back with cable ties supplied by the crew. Another passenger secured his feet.

The man was cable tied to the frame of the seat where he lay on the floor, occasionally moaning and yelling obscenities.

“Watching on, all I could think was that I may never see my wife and two boys again. We thought we were going to die,” Troy said.

Fabio said they didn’t think but just did what they had to do.

“We are thrilled with the outcome and that we are all safe. Although we have since learned it was a hoax, the trauma and stress is very real for all those who were on board,” Troy said.

“Now we just want to go surfing. Also, the stewardess who put her life on the line and told us to help needs a pay rise.”

After an emergency landing in Melbourne, passengers waited another 90 minutes before police boarded the plane.

It is believed authorities were doing background checks on passengers before they could disembark.

“We were waiting with very little information from the crew and none from the authorities,” Troy said.

“Ninety minutes is a very long time to wait when you are fearing for your life. As a passenger sitting on a plane with what we thought was a bomb, this wait time was excruciatingly unsettling. There were lots of children on the plane who would have been terrified.

“As a father, I really felt for the children and I was angry they had to go through all of this. I wish they could have been evacuated earlier so they didn’t have to wait with what was believed to be a bomb on board and walk past this guy as they walked to the bathroom.”

The men felt the bomber and the device believed to be a bomb should have been immediately removed from the plane.

The men caught another flight to Malaysia to enjoy their surfing holiday.

Holiday heroes: Cape Paterson’s Fabio Contu and Troy Joyner of Woolamai just before boarding their rescheduled flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The men were on the original flight affected by a bomb hoax.

Short URL: https://thestar.com.au/?p=21527

Posted by on Jun 6 2017. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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