Unusual

Man charged over hoax calls to pilots in Australia

Plane

SYDNEY: A man accused of making hoax calls to pilots in Australia, which saw at least one passenger plane change altitude and course, has been charged with endangering the safety of aircraft, police said.

The 19-year-old was arrested Tuesday following 16 separate unauthorised radio transmissions at Melbourne airport and nearby Avalon airport over a two-month period to November 3, causing interference with air traffic control.

In one of the incidents, a Virgin Australia flight from the Gold Coast to Melbourne changed its altitude and course allegedly under the instruction of the teen, who is accused of tapping into restricted radio frequencies.

“The offences this 19-year-old man faces carry a maximum penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment,” the Australian Federal Police said.

The man was charged with four counts of endangering the safety of an aircraft and one of interference likely to cause loss or damage.

He was denied bail when he appeared in court with reports citing his lawyer as saying he suffered from autism and depression.

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