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Air China flight diverted after passenger holds cabin crew member hostage with fountain pen

The Independent logo The Independent 16/4/2018 Samuel Osborne

An Air China flight was forced to make an unscheduled landing after a passenger held a flight attendant hostage with a fountain pen, the country’s civil aviation authority said.

All passengers and crew on Beijing-bound Flight 1350 made it safely off the plane after it landed in Zhengzhou city due to what authorities had described earlier as an unspecified “illegal interference.”

In a brief statement on its website, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said a male passenger attempted to use a pen to hold the flight attendant “under duress”.

Chinese police said preliminary investigations found the 41-year-old passenger, identified only by his last name, Xu, had a “history of mental illness”.

It said he suffered an unspecified “sudden” psychological disorder when he grabbed the flight attendant.

a close up of a map: air-china2.jpg © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited air-china2.jpg
Air China Flight 1350 took off from Changsha and was scheduled to arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport, but made an unscheduled landing at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (Flightradar24)

In a statement, the Zhengzhou airport said it immediately activated emergency measures, adding the passengers who disembarked were in a stable mood and the airport was operating normally.

The Beijing News said on its Weibo microblog page a passenger described being awoken by a scream coming from the front of the plane and “nobody knew what was going on.”

The Xiaoxiang Morning Herald quoted a passenger saying the disturbance occurred in the first or business class cabins, but 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 in a Weibo post. The passenger described seeing armed personnel in camouflage uniforms assembled in two or three rows.

The Air China flight took off from Changsha, the capital of southern Hunan province, at 8:40am and was scheduled to arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport at around 11am, according to local media reports and flight tracking websites.

However, it made the unscheduled landing at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport, in central Henan province, at 9:58am, according to an earlier post on Air China’s official Weibo microblog.

Air China said the plane made the unscheduled stop due to “public safety reasons”, and police and civil aviation authorities were handling the situation.

Additional reporting by agencies

© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited a large passenger jet sitting on an airport runway © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

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