An attempt to hijack an airliner with 148 passengers and crew aboard ended Sunday with the would-be hijacker dead in a hail of gunfire.
The flight from the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka was scheduled to fly to Dubai, but was forced to make an emergency landing Sunday at Chittagong, said Rezaul Karim, of the Bangladesh military’s public affairs office, Fox News reported.
The incident aboard the Biman Bangladesh Airlines plane began when the suspect tried to enter the plane’s cockpit, according to Reuters. In a separate report, Reuters said the plane carried six crew members and 142 passengers.
The man trying to enter the cockpit of the Boeing 737-800 said he had a spousal issue and wanted to speak with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“Just 10 minutes after the plane took off (from Dhaka) he fired twice,” one passenger later said, according to Agence France-Presse.
After the plane landed at Chittagong, it was surrounded by military personnel.
Troops later stormed the plane.
“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.
Rahman said an investigation would be needed to learn how the man “passed airport security details with a gun.”
The man claimed to have a gun and a bomb. Some reports said that a device that appeared to be a bomb was strapped to his chest. A pistol was found on his body, the BBC reported.
As of Sunday afternoon, officials said only that the man was 25 and a citizen of Bangladesh.
— ITV News (@itvnews) February 24, 2019
Air Vice Marshal Mofidur of Bangladesh’s air force, who goes only by one name, said commandos fired at the would-be hijacker, whom he called a “terrorist,” after the man fired first when called upon to surrender.
The suspect was “mentally imbalanced,” said Air Vice Marshal M. Naim Hassan, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority.
“I am saying this because of his behavior. He wanted to talk to the prime minister.”
Army spokesman, Abdullah Ibne Zaid said Chittagong’s Shah Amanat International Airport was “very much under control of the Bangladesh Army”.
“The army’s special forces conducted the operation and the armed man has been neutralized,” he said.
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