Busker Responsible For Flagstaff Station Lockdown
A busker on his way to perform in Melbourne's CBD has inadvertently shut down a city train station during peak hour when passengers mistook his instrument bag for a gun bag.
Heavily-armed police swooped on Flagstaff station and evacuated it about 8.30am, with distressed passengers forced to rush out of the underground platforms.
The man's bag was later described as a sports duffel bag that looks "nothing like" a gun bag.
"He was a local busker who was there to play an instrument in town," Inspector Jacob Bugeja told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.
"There was a bag that the person was carrying and he had his tools to busk with him."
The man was doing breathing exercises on the train when he aroused suspicion, but police spoke to him about 20 minutes later in the city to confirm he did not have a weapon.
Construction worker Shannon Marrell said he was rushed out of the station as heavily-armed police stormed onto the platform.
"I heard on the train that they had to duck, like they wanted everyone down," he told reporters.
Mr Marrell said a number of people appeared distressed when they had to rush out of the underground station.
.@VictoriaPolice: We made sure we removed the risk; we cleared the train to ensure there was no issue. We spoke the person acting suspicious and confirmed there was no risk.— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) March 27, 2019
He was a local busker, there to play an instrument in town.
MORE: https://t.co/ox7FWv4gam #SkyLiveNow pic.twitter.com/bULKf7wOL9
Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said a rifle case was sighted originally as part of the report to police.
Passenger Paddy Naughtin said he was on the 8.19am train to Mernda when it was stopped.
"A dozen cops (half heavily-armed) came running past," he told AAP.
Mr Ashton said he would follow up reports a train driver had told passengers there was a gunman on the loose in the rail system.