Man who triggered hijack alert mistook cockpit for toilet

Saturday 26 April 2014 22.13
Matt Christopher Lockley told police after his arrest that he banged on what he thought was the toilet door
Matt Christopher Lockley told police after his arrest that he banged on what he thought was the toilet door

Police in Indonesia have said a hijack scare on a Virgin Australia flight from Brisbane to Bali was triggered by a passenger who mistook the cockpit door for the toilet.

Australian Matt Christopher Lockley told Bali police after his arrest that he banged on what he thought was the toilet door for a last-minute bathroom break before the Boeing 737-800 aircraft landed.

The door was actually the cockpit door and the pilot, Neil Thomas Cooper, responded by alerting Indonesian traffic controllers of a possible hijacking.

Crew members then seized Mr Lockley and handcuffed him.

"The flight was about to land and [Lockley] was sleeping. The flight attendant woke him up and he went to the toilet.

"At the time, he thought the cockpit door was the toilet door," Heri Wiyanto, Bali police spokesman, said.

Virgin Australia said the 137 passengers and seven crew on board were never in any danger during the flight.

"We can confirm there was a disruptive passenger on board and the pilot notified authorities in advance of landing, as per standard operating procedures," said Virgin spokeswoman Jacqui Abbott.

After taking blood samples from Mr Lockley, police said he had taken several painkillers, including four Panadol and two Voltaren pills.

Police had initially said Mr Lockley was drunk.

Mr Lockley, who was travelling to visit his Indonesian wife, was shown on local television shortly after the flight surrounded by armed security and a mob of reporters at the airport.

Copies of his identification cards were also shown to the media.

He has not made any public comments about the incident and remains in police custody.             

Police said Mr Lockley "was still depressed, so he needs to rest".