A commercial aircraft belonging to Bangladesh’ state-run Biman Airlines was the scene of a foiled hijacking attempt on Sunday. One passenger, who has yet to be identified, reportedly attempted to gain control of the aircraft during a flight from Dhaka to Dubai. The suspect brandished a pistol, but was not able to gain access to the cockpit, where pilots made the decision to execute an emergency landing at the Shah Amanat International Airport in Chattogram.
Once the plane was on the ground, elite law enforcement officers alongside members of Bangledesh’s Army and Navy established a perimeter around the aircraft, which housed 148 passengers and an as-yet undisclosed number of crew members. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the man, said to be around 25-years-old, made unusual demands that led some to believe he may have been suffering from mental problems. He reportedly demanded to speak to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, but no other demands have been released to the public.
“From the talks and dialogue we have with him, it seems he is psychologically deranged,” Air Vice Chairman Nayeem Hasan, the country’s civil aviation chief, told press. “I am saying this because of his behavior,” he clarified.
Bangladesh: Tense situation as police surround a plane at Chattogram airport after it was reported to be hijacked. The Dubai bound Biman plane is identified as flight BG147. pic.twitter.com/BtessHtKyZ
— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) February 24, 2019
Police were reportedly able to make contact with the suspect, who was referred to on the scene by the name “Manafee,” but he refused to surrender. At that point, the decision was made to use Bangladeshi Special Forces to storm the aircraft and subdue to the suspect. The suspect reportedly claimed to have a bomb strapped to his chest, but thus far, there has been no evidence to suggest that there actually was. Some international outlets have reported that explosives were found on his body, but not formal statements from Bangledshi officials have substantiated those claims.
“We tried to arrest him or get him to surrender but he refused and then we shot him,” Maj Gen Motiur Rahman told reporters. “He is a Bangladeshi. We found a pistol from him and nothing else.”
The suspect reportedly died of his wounds before he could reach a hospital, potentially complicating matters for investigators tasked with trying to piece together what exactly led to the attempted hijacking. No passengers were injured during the raid, and once the suspect had been neutralized, the aircraft was evacuated.
Feature image: An Emergency Services Team member takes down a mock hijacker during an anti-high jacking exercise Nov. 9, 2012 (USAF Photo)