Virgin flight passengers evacuate via window, man arrested after plane lands
6th June 2017
Passengers on a Virgin flight from Sydney to Albury have been evacuated via a window emergency exit and a man has been arrested after a scare on the tarmac.
Police surrounded the plane after it landed safely at Albury Airport about 9:30am.
Virgin Australia said the alleged security incident on flight 1147 was now in the hands of New South Wales Police.
A 30-year-old man allegedly left a one-word note in the bathroom.
He was arrested when the plane landed in Albury and has been charged with sending a document threatening death or grievous bodily harm and for giving false information that a person or property was in danger.
Police said the incident was not terrorism related.
Wendy Willett was on board the flight and said passengers did not know about the incident until their plane had been surrounded by police in Albury.
Passengers had to climb out the windows, she said.
“When we landed we all saw the police outside the plane, so we knew something had happened,” she said.
“The minute we came to a halt they started yelling ‘evacuate, evacuate’.
“Then they pulled us all over to the side and jumped on the man in red.
“He sat next to me, he didn’t seem drunk, he didn’t seem … there was nothing unusual about him. He read a book most of the flight.”
The plane has been returned to service.
Superintendent Evan Quarmby said police had secured all the passengers safely within five minutes of the aircraft landing.
“We were here within three minutes of the call coming in,” he said.
“We have the area secure, everything is contained, all of the passengers — except for the male who’s assisting us with our inquiries — have been allowed to leave.
The man was granted conditional bail and will appear in Albury Local Court on July 4.