Fearless Brit tackled passenger who threatened to blow up plane

"The wife wasn't happy" says Rab Macdonald

Updated: 

A British holidaymaker who helped restrain a 'dangerous' passenger threatening to blow-up a plane said his wife 'wasn't happy' he leapt in to help.

Fearless Rab Macdonald, 60, said he didn't think about his own safety as he raced after a man who yelled: "I'm going to blow the f*****g plane up."

See also: Police drag man from overbooked flight

See also: Flight attendant gets caught up in plane brawl

But he revealed his bravery reduced his 'No1 fan' into a nervous wreck, admitting: "The wife wasn't happy."

Train guard Rab turned plane guard minutes after the Malaysia Airlines flight took off from Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday.

The modest grandad also revealed he accidentally restrained a fellow passenger during the melee.

And he told how he has been overwhelmed by messages from wellwishers since, reports the Daily Record.

The drama unfolded minutes after flight MH128 took off from Melbourne at 11.11pm local time.

Dad-of-two Rab and wife Karen, 59, were travelling home after visiting their daughter Vicki, 35, and their two grandchildren in Tasmania.

Credits: Internet Unknown

Fearless Rab Macdonald

The cabin lights were still off as Manodh Marks ran down the aisle and announced:

Rab, who is originally from Saltcoats in Ayrshire, didn't hear what was said but realised something extraordinary was unfolding.

Speaking from the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, he said: "There was a commotion on the plane. I knew there was something going on but I didn't know what.

"One of the flight attendants started shouting, 'Can you help? Can you help? It's a dangerous man.' I just got out of the chair and went straight over.

"Four or five other guys went over as well. We basically pinned him on the chair.

"He was trying to get up but we just subdued him and got him down in the aisle. We pinned him down and he couldn't move. That was it."

Credits: Internet Unknown

The scene on board the Malaysian Airlines flight

Asked if he had any concerns for his own safety, Rab replied: "No. I never even thought of that. It was weird, totally weird.

"The wife wasn't happy. I just jumped up and left her. I never thought."

It was only while he helped restrain the would-be attacker that he realised the severity of the situation.

Bold Rab said: "Nobody really knew what was going on. I just knew we had to restrain him because the lady had said he was a danger.

"One of the boys who was underneath me said, 'He is meant to have a f*****g bomb.'

"I grabbed a wrist strap and bent it right back because I didn't want his hands to touch anything in case he had a trigger or something.

"And, here, it was the guy underneath that was holding him. I was bending his wrist back.

"He goes, 'It's me.' And I said, 'Oh, sorry.'"

Looking back, Rab has no regrets.

He said: "I'm glad I did it. When we had him down, I had him at the top of his head.

"I saw his face and I really felt like punching him but I thought that would be a cheap shot because he couldn't move.

"I had to get a guy's knee off his neck because I could see he was struggling.

"He was well restrained."

The plane headed back to Melbourne but when it landed at 11.41pm the 337 passengers' ordeal was far from over.

Rab said: "We had an announcement from the pilot saying the police will be here in 10 minutes.

"An hour and 10 minutes later, they decided to come on all guns blazing, night goggles, the whole caboodle.

"They just picked him up like a wee rag doll and took him straight out."

Rab added: "They got us out on to the tarmac and I have never seen so many police.

"They took the names of every passenger and searched us before we were bussed back to the terminal building.

"I think they thought there might have been somebody else."

Rab criticised the delay in removing Marks from the plane.

He said: "What if the PM of Australia was on this plane? Would they have waited an hour and 10 minutes?

Credits: REUTERS

Manodh Marks

"Their excuse was that they weren't sure if the bomb was live or not or if there was another terrorist.

"It was badly handled."

The airport was in lockdown and Rab and Karen had to spend the night there.

He said: "That was us until nine o'clock in the morning. No food. Nothing. They gave us a couple of biscuits and a cup of tea."

While every passenger had to give a statement, Rab was interviewed separately by detectives. He said: "They matched up all the boys' stories that were involved, just to get everything right."

The would-be attacker was identified as a 25-year-old from Sri Lanka who was in Australia on a student visa and training as a chef.

Marks was released from a psychiatric unit in Melbourne hours before the jet took off.

He appeared in court on Thursday charged with recklessly threatening to set off a bomb and destroy an aircraft and was remanded in custody.

Rab and Karen finally arrived in Kuala Lumpur 15 hours later than planned. He joked: "They gave us a meal voucher for $20 each, which is about 15 quid. It was very good of them.

"They didn't even upgrade me."

Asked about the Record's front page, he said: "I'm getting pelters on Facebook – I've never had so many messages.

"The support has been great but I'm not a hero. I was just helping.

"I didn't tackle him, deck him and chain him up by myself. It was an effort by at least five or six guys.

"It's just a thing you do."

Rab, who now lives in Milton Keynes, hopes to be home by tomorrow and is looking forward to catching up with friends in his local.

He joked: "I should get a few free pints out of this."

World's worst-behaved air passengers

World's worst-behaved air passengers


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