“The only thing that made me do it was the fear of dying. There’s no one up there to help you."
Two Australian surfers have been awarded bravery medals after tackling and choking the hell out of a hijacker armed with what he told passengers was a bomb, but which would turn out to be Bluetooth speakers.
The surfers, Troy Joyner and Fabio Contu, were on a Malaysian Airlines bird out of Melbourne and en route to Indo to hit the “swell of the decade” when Sri Lankan Manodh Marks ran past ‘em to the cockpit yelling, “I’ve got a bomb!”
Joyner, a military guy who knew how to disarm explosives, told his buddy a terrorist was about to bring down the bird.
“I said, ‘Mate, that guy’s got a bomb’,” Joyner told News.com.au. “It was dark. The cabin crew in front of us starting to talk in Malaysian. More people were starting to move around. I could hear a heap of yelling. They flicked the lights on and I could see he had a singlet on with a device under his singlet that stood out, sort of two inches from his stomach. He had a remote in his left hand that looked pretty legit. I thought, ‘This guy is pretty serious’.”
Contu, who was enjoying the airline’s award-winning entertainment system via headphones, wasn’t convinced.
“Troy tapped me and said, ‘He’s got a bomb’. I was like, ‘You’ve heard him wrong. He’s probably going to the toilet’. He’s like, ‘I know what I heard’.
Marks tried to get into the cockpit but was forced back by flight attendants.
As he got near the Australians, Joyner grabbed the cunt and threw a choking arm around his neck, soon extinguishing consciousness.
On the ground, Contu lifted Marks’ singlet.
“I pulled his shirt up and there’s this big round plastic thing staring at me with wires coming out of it. I put my hand on it and went ‘stuff it’. I ripped it off him and it didn’t go off. I gave it to a passenger and said to put it at the back of the plane. Troy had him choked out. He was out cold so I searched him for a trigger. There was a phone so I took that off him, too. We handcuffed his hands and his feet with cable ties and secured him to the frame of a seat so he couldn’t move.”
Obvs, choking out a crazy man with bluetooth speakers taped to his guts is funny now, but terrifying in the moment.
“The only thing that made me do it was the fear of dying,” says Joyner. “There’s no one up there to help you. You either help yourself or let it take its course.”
Not that it scared ‘em enough to stay off planes.
“We got on a flight the next day,” Joyner, who along with Contu will be awarded an Australian Bravery Decoration, says. “Got the waves of our life.”
Marks got twelve years for the hijack attempt although the Victorian Court of Appeal subsequently reduced the sentence to eight years at the top, five at the bottom.