Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 June 2019

Passengers safe after Biman Bangladesh Airlines hijack attempt, says aviation chief

Suspect shot dead by commandos after emergency landing in Chittagaong

The hijacked Dubai-bound Bangladesh Biman plane is seen at the tarmac after an emergency landing at the Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong on February 24, 2019. AFP
The hijacked Dubai-bound Bangladesh Biman plane is seen at the tarmac after an emergency landing at the Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong on February 24, 2019. AFP

All passengers are safe after a Dubai-bound Bangladesh Biman plane made an emergency landing on Sunday following an attempted hijacking, while the alleged hijacker was shot dead, Bangladeshi officials said.

"All 150 plus passengers are safe," Air Vice Marshall Nayeem Hasan, the national aviation chief, told AFP of flight BG147 which had taken off from the capital Dhaka

Officials said the suspected hijacker was shot when special forces rushed the Boeing 737-800 plane after it landed safely in Chittagong.

"Our commando team asked the hijacker to surrender, but he rejected it by being aggressive, and was shot," army spokesman Major General Motiur Rahman told reporters.

"Later on we learnt he had died... We found a pistol from him and nothing else."

The airline's general manager, Shakil Mira, told Reuters the pilot decided to make an emergency landing after being told by a member of the cabin crew that the passenger was behaving suspiciously, leading to concerns about a possible hijack plan.

An unnamed member of the crew was reported as saying 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 operation took less than 10 minutes and the plane was searched and declared worthy to fly again, Maj Gen Rahman said.

The army official said the suspect, whose name has not been released, asked to speak to his wife and to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The suspect appeared to be "mentally imbalanced," said Air Vice Marshal Hassan. "I am saying this because of his behaviour. He wanted to talk to the prime minister."

Updated: February 24, 2019 10:25 PM

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