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Indonesia releases man accused of hijack scare

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 27, 2014 at 10:56 a.m.

— Indonesia on Sunday released an Australian man who caused a hijack scare on a flight to Bali by trying to break into the cockpit because he can't be charged in the country for an incident that occurred on an Australia-registered plane, police said.

Indonesian authorities say the drunken man pounded on the cockpit door during Friday's Virgin Australia flight, forcing the pilot to issue an alert code to air traffic control. Bali's airport was closed for nearly two hours because of the incident, forcing several flights to be diverted.

The cabin crew managed to restrain the man and put him in a rear seat for the remaining hour of the flight, and Indonesian troops later took him into custody.

The man was released late Sunday and was to leave Bali on his own initiative, Bali police special crimes chief Col. Suryambodo Asmoro told reporters.

"Under Indonesia's law, he couldn't be charged in Indonesia because what he did was on a plane registered in Australia," Asmoro said, adding that it would be up to Australian authorities to decide whether to charge the man.

The Boeing 737-800 was carrying 137 passengers and seven crew members from Brisbane, Australia, to the resort island of Bali, which is a leading tourist destination for Australians.

No passengers or crew were hurt in the incident, according to the airline.

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bbos42 says... April 27, 2014 at 12:13 p.m.

Why was an inebriated man allowed on the plane, or served enough alcohol during the flight, or both, to create this bizarre incident? It seems to me that the airline personal, either boarding personal, or employees on the plane, contributed significantly to this incident, and that should be investigated.

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