Malaysia Airlines passenger who threatened to blow up plane charged

A man who forced a Malaysia Airlines flight to turn back after threatening to blow up the plane has been charged with making false threats and endangering the safety of an aircraft.

The flight was minutes into its journey from Melbourne when Manodh Marks walked from his economy seat to the cockpit door clutching an electronic device and threatening to detonate a bomb.

Witnesses said "two or three brave young Aussies" tackled the 25-year-old Sri Lankan, who had just been released from a psychiatric hospital.

They then tied him up with belts until the plane landed and armed police removed him from the plane.

Marks now faces a potential 10-year prison sentence.

Passengers were forced to endure a 30-minute ordeal while the plane returned to the airport. Credit: Andrew Leconcelli via AP

Passenger Andrew Leoncelli said the device Marks had was a boombox type portable music player.

"He was saying, 'I'm going to the blow the f***ing plane up, I'm going to blow the plane up.'

"Two or three brave young Aussies have taken him on and got him to the ground."

Police superintendent Tony Langdon said the flight crew also played a part in tackling the man.

"We believe that the actions of the passengers and crew were quite heroic," he said.

Police say the arrested man has no terror links. Credit: Andrew Leconcelli via AP

The plane, which was headed to Kuala Lumpur, was carrying 337 passengers.

They were kept on the plane for 90 minutes after landing as the aircraft was searched for potential bombs.

Malaysia's state-owned airline has had two recent high-profile disasters.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over the Ukraine in 2014 with the loss of all 283 passengers and 15 crew and Flight 370 with 238 people aboard disappeared in 2013, believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.