An Air China Ltd (中國國際航空) flight bound for Beijing was yesterday diverted to central China after a passenger held a flight attendant hostage using a pen as a weapon, authorities said.
All passengers and crew on Flight 1350 made it safely off the plane after it landed in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, at 10am due to what had earlier been described by authorities as an unspecified “illegal interference.”
The flight had taken off at 8:40am from Changsha, Hunan Province, and was scheduled to land in Beijing at 11am.
The Civil Aviation Authority of China said in a statement on its Web site that the plane was diverted when a male passenger held a flight attendant hostage.
It said only that “the matter was successfully handled” by 1:17pm, but did not provide any details.
Police in Zhengzhou said in a statement that the alleged hostage-taker has a history of mental illness and experienced an unspecified “sudden” psychological disorder when he grabbed the flight attendant.
It identified the man only by his surname, Xu (徐), and said he was 41 and from Anhua County in Hunan.
Police arrested him at about 1pm, the statement said.
In a brief report on Weibo, state broadcaster China Central Television shared an image of what appeared to be paramilitary police in combat uniforms and helmets assembled outside a Zhengzhou airport hotel and another image of several ambulances.
The airline said police and aviation authorities were handling the matter and refused to provide further information.
Beijing News said on Weibo that a passenger described being awoken by a scream coming from the front of the plane and that “nobody knew what was going on.”
The Xiaoxiang Morning Herald quoted a passenger as saying that the disturbance occurred in the first or business class cabins, but that the curtains separating those sections from economy class were pulled tightly shut.
She looked out the window and saw many police cars, ambulances and fire engines parked outside the plane as it was landing in Zhengzhou, the newspaper said on Weibo.
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