As the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) continue their investigation into the arson incident which took place on flight EY461, from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi, four passengers from Victoria, were detained and questioned by security.
“Four Australians, all from Victoria and aged between 29 and 47 years, were detained when the flight arrived on the morning of February 18th (Abu Dhabi time). Australian consular officials provided assistance. All four have travelled on to their next destinations,” a representative for DFAT said.
Coordinator, Gatot Priambodo, at Jakarta’s Sukarno-Hatta International Airport, told reporters, while cruising at 34,000 feet, two fires were discovered in the cabin lavatories, brought to the attention by the plane’s smoke detectors. The air crew was compelled to land per the insistence of Australia’s air traffic controller team.
The flight team uncovered charred tissue paper in one of the lavatories.
Following a complete examination of the cabin and its passengers, the plane was cleared for take-off, only to be derailed two hours later by a third fire.
Stephen Mahoney, a representative for Etihad Airways said initially, twelve passengers had been held and questioned regarding the fires.
Passengers gave the world a play-by-play account of the incident via social media.
Jared Marshall, a freelance photographer, from East Melbourne, remembered that a young female in her 20s was removed from the plane by Abu Dhabi security. He said the energy within the cabin was beyond “strange.”
“Everyone was in disbelief. We couldn’t believe there was some idiot trying to kill everyone. Everyone was looking at each other as a possible suspect… The arsonist first struck about four hours into the flight when most were asleep,” Mr. Marshall recalled.
Currently, no one has been arrested and Etihad Airways is said to be working closely with investigators.
Were you on flight EY461? What is your recollection of the events which took place?