Alleged hijacker shot dead after mid-air drama

by Kim Boateng Posted on February 24th, 2019

A man who allegedly attempted to hijack a plane bound for Dubai from Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka has been shot dead after the aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing.

The state-run Biman Bangladesh airliner carrying 148 passengers and crew was forced to land in the Bangladeshi coastal city of Chittagong about 40 minutes into the flight after a passenger armed with a gun tried to “storm the cockpit”, according to local media.

The suspect, identified as a 25-year-old Bangladeshi man, died from his wounds after an exchange of gunfire with security forces, who stormed the plane following the emergency landing.

The commandos opened fire after the suspect shot at them when they ordered him to surrender, army Major General Motiur Rahman said.

At least two crew members were reportedly held hostage on-board the aircraft as it sat at Shah Amanat International Airport, 252 kilometres southeast of Dhaka.

Bangladeshi MP Mayeen Uddin Khan Badal earlier said the hijacker fired a shot on the plane and demanded to speak with his wife and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

“When the pilot pursued him, the hijacker said that he wanted to talk to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” he said.

The unnamed suspect was taken into custody by law enforcement agencies and was being questioned after the shootout, but died before reaching hospital.

The Dubai-bound flight took off from Dhaka at 4.35pm local time Sunday, but the pilot was forced to divert the flight when a crew member reported “suspicious behaviour” by one of the passengers.

There were no passenger casualties from the incident on the flight, Air Vice Marshal Mofidur Rahman of Bangladesh’s said at a news conference broadcast live on local Somoy TV.

Mr Rahman described the suspect as a “terrorist”.

Air Vice Marshal Naim Hassan, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority said the suspect appeared to be “mentally imbalanced”.

“I am saying this because of his behaviour. He wanted to talk to the Prime Minister.”

Mr Rahman declined to provide more details about the incident, but said that all passengers and crew members aboard the Boeing 737-800 jet had been evacuated and were safe.

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Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

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