Can confusion: police now say 'bomb' was written on drink

As far as unsolved mysteries go, this one is certainly no fizzer.

Detectives investigating a simple soft drink can that forced a flight carrying 180 passengers into an emergency landing at Melbourne Airport have changed their minds about the case - again.

The captain of the Air Mauritius flight, which took off at 1.24pm (AEST) on Wednesday, made the decision to return to Melbourne Airport after the word "bomb" was apparently written on a soft drink can.

One of the first reports describing the mid-air emergency was that masking tape had been used to attach a piece of paper that stated "bomb" on the can.

No explosives were ever found.

But the next day the story had changed to one of a simple misunderstanding.

"It has been determined that no offence has been detected due to an initial misinterpretation of foreign lettering on the print of the can," a police spokeswoman said on Thursday morning.

A new police statement, however, said on Thursday evening that investigators had reached another interpretation of the suspicious little can.

"The can has today undergone further forensic examinations and it has been confirmed that the word bomb was written on the can," it said.

Police would not discuss the matter beyond the prepared statement.

"We are not going to go into the finer details of it," a police spokesman said, citing the need to prevent copycat offenders.

Police say the can "was not sourced from Australia" and they suspect it was not loaded on to the plane from within the country.

"If that's the case, it's not an offence under Australian law," the police statement said.

No one has been arrested over the incident and no threats were ever received by the airline.

All passengers were interviewed by police and given overnight accommodation in Melbourne hotels before being cleared to leave on Thursday.

"I think safety is number one and I think the captain absolutely did the right thing," Air Mauritius country manager Australia Steven Palombo said.

AAP

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