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Passengers Questioned Over Multiple Fires on Etihad Flight

Passengers were released after questioning Thursday by authorities investigating a suspected multiple arson attack during a flight from Australia to the Middle East.

Terrified travelers on the Boeing 777-300ER flight from Melbourne to the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi said the fires sent smoke into the cabin and appeared to have been deliberately set.

Smoke was detected in two lavatories while the flight was over the Indian Ocean late Monday, the Associated Press reported.

The flight diverted to Jakarta, Indonesia, and was searched by police but no culprit was found and the plane resumed its journey, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

But a short time later, there was yet another blaze in another lavatory.

Passenger Dale Henderson called the fires an act of “terrorism,” telling Australian broadcaster ABC that it was “pretty concerning to know that somebody in the plane after the first attempt had basically a death wish to try to bring the plane down and everybody on board."

He said he was woken by an alarm after the first fire. "Smoke [was] billowing around inside the fuselage a little bit and a smell of burnt plastic," he said. "The stewardesses and the staff of Etihad pretty much had it under control pretty quickly."

"Paper had been shoved in the waste basket," he said. "Also a little bit of alcohol was apparently used to get the fire going."

Twelve passengers were detained upon arrival in Abu Dhabi, the AP reported.

By Thursday morning, all had been released.

"In the absence of any conclusive incriminating evidence, no arrests have been made," the airline told the AP in a statement, adding that the investigation was ongoing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.