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Passengers beat hijacker

Posted by Richard on February 16, 2007

The era of airliner hijackings really is over. After 9/11, it’s doubtful that you could find an airplane anywhere full of people who’ll sit still for someone commandeering their flight. Not even in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania:

TENERIFE, Canary Islands (AP) – A quick–thinking pilot thwarted a gun–toting hijacker on a flight from Africa to Spain’s Canary Islands by discreetly warning passengers he would brake hard upon landing, then speed up just as abruptly to knock the man off balance – and telling them to be ready to pounce, Spanish officials said Friday.

The trick worked to perfection, with travelers and crew waiting until the hijacker was on the floor to douse him in the face and chest with boiling water from a coffee machine and beat him into submission.

"The man deserves a medal," Air Mauritania spokesman Ahmedou Ahmedou said of the company’s veteran pilot after the ordeal Thursday evening.

The hijacker, who wanted to be flown to France in order to request political asylum, brandished two pistols. Apparently, airport security isn’t so hot in Mauritania.

So, how did the clever pilot and passengers pull off this trick?

Speaking to the gunman during the hijacking, the pilot realized the man did not understand French. So he used the plane’s public address system to warn the passengers in French of the ploy he was going to try: slam on the brakes upon landing, then accelerate abruptly. The idea was to catch the hijacker off balance, and have crew members and men sitting in the front rows of the plane jump on him, the Spanish official said.

The pilot warned women and children to move to the back rows of the plane in preparation for the subterfuge, the official said.

It worked. As the plane landed on Gran Canaria, the man was standing in the middle aisle when the pilot carried out his maneuver, and he fell to the floor, dropping one of his two 7mm pistols. Flight attendants then threw boiling water in his face and at his chest, and some 10 people jumped on the man and beat him, the Spanish official said.

According to at least one Spanish news source, authorities are looking into the possibility that there’s more to this hijacking than meets the eye:

The security forces are questioning – via an interpreter – the hijacker and are investigating whether anybody else was involved in the attack, after one passenger said that other people possibly could have been in on the plan.

Eyewitnesses said they had seen several people take off running across the airport’s runways after exiting the plane.


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One Response to “Passengers beat hijacker”

  1. Nick Kasoff - The Thug Report said

    If this happened in the United States, they’d arrest the people who beat the guy. Then, he’d sue them all.

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