— Bangladesh Plane Hijacker Who Was Killed Had Toy Pistol Says Police
Bangladesh commandoes shot and killed a purported hijacker who had tried to enter the cockpit of a Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight on Sunday, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing, airline and aviation authority officials said.
The purported hijacker, who told the pilot he had a personal issue with his wife and wanted to speak to Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, died when the commandos stormed the plane at Chittagong’s Shah Amanat International Airport, officials said.
“We tried to arrest him or get him to surrender but he refused and then we shot him,” said Major General S M Motiur Rahman of the Bangladesh Army.
Some 134 passengers and 14 crew were released unharmed after an operation that lasted barely 10 minutes.
Airport manager Wing Commander Sarwar-e-Jaman said the hijacker was “psychologically imbalanced”.
“The reason he gave for the hijack was that he had troubles with his wife and he wanted to talk to the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina,” Sarwar told AFP.
Flight BG 147 was going from Dhaka to Dubai via Chittagong when the hijacking started.
The man — named only as Mahadi — reportedly wielded a gun in the cabin and tried to storm the cockpit, forcing an emergency landing.
One passenger told reporters he may have fired the weapon twice, but civil aviation authority chairman Air Vice Marshall Nayeem Hasan said the gun he was carrying was not real.
The airport was sealed off by Army, Navy and elite police after landing to collect more passengers from Dhaka on its journey to Dubai.
“Just ten minutes after the plane took off (from Dhaka) he fired twice,” one passenger told reporters in Chittagong.
Air Vice Marshall Mofid, who goes by one name, said he kept the accused man busy talking on the phone while special forces units prepared for the dramatic raid.
“He demanded to speak to our Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina),” Mofid said.
“He claimed he had a pistol, but we are not sure yet whether it is an actual gun or a fake.”
An unnamed member of the crew said the man was carrying a bomb-like object.
“(He) said, ‘I’ll hijack this plane… If you don’t open the cockpit, I will blow up the plane,'” the crew member told Bangladeshi newspaper Prothom Alo.
Other crew members said passengers were evacuated through four emergency gates of the plane.
The hijacker also held a flight steward hostage.
The man appeared to be in his 20s, was probably Bangladeshi as he was speaking Bangla, but his identity was not yet clear, the officials said.