Passengers Recount Xinjiang Plane Hijacking
    2012-07-06 08:53:26     CRIENGLISH.com         Web Editor: Mao Yaqing

Related: Xinjiang Boosts Airport Checks after Foiled Hijacking

Police are looking into a case where six men attempted to hijack a plane bound for Urumqi, Xinjiang Autonomous Region last Friday.

The local government has recognized and awarded ten people, including flight attendants and passengers, for their bravery in fighting off the hijackers and saving the fellow passengers' lives.

Here are the stories from some passengers themselves.

CRI's Zhang Shuangfeng has more.

 

The Tianjin Airlines' flight GS7554 flying from Hotan to Urumqi took off at 12:25 last Friday.

92 passengers, including 9 crew members, were on board.

About ten minutes after the plane took off, Liu Huijun, a passenger who sat in seat 2F close to the cockpit, noticed three men holding metal sticks trying to break into the cockpit.

"My first thought was that they were hijacking the plane. The three were holding sticks and shouting. So, acting on instinct, I unfastened my seat belt. When I tried to take a closer look, the man that stood nearest to me lit something on fire. If that thing went off, everyone on the plane would be blown up. So, I didn't have time to think, I just stood up, shouted at the man, and then slapped the thing he was holding out of his hand and onto the floor."

Another three men remained at the middle section of the plane and began to attack passengers with metal sticks.

Lu Maopeng is a police officer on a business trip to Urumqi. He was sitting in 13B when the attack began.

"I stood up and asked other passengers to clam down. I kept on telling the passengers that we outnumbered the attackers, that they shouldn't be afraid, and that we should fight them off together."

Soon, passengers and four other police officers, who happened to be on board, joined the fight.

Aishan, a local doctor sitting in 23C, rushed to the front of the plane and took down two attackers with the help of other passengers. They later escorted the elderly and the children to the rear section of the plane.

"My first thought was to take them down. If I was facing death anyway, the other passengers and I would have a better chance of survival if I were to take them down."

Zou Jinsong, the plane's pilot, recalled that he first thought the attack was simply a fight between passengers. But when the flight attendant told him it was a hijacking, he decided to fly the plane back to Hotan, which was the nearest airport at that time.

Zou also thanked the passengers for their help and praised the bravery of flight attendants.

"Our flight attendants are very brave. Two of the girls were calling for the passengers to fight back. They shouted at them to fight if they were men."

The plane landed at Hotan airport safely sixteen minutes later, and all six men were detained.

Seven passengers and four crew members were injured.
 
Airport surveillance videos show that one of the hijackers feigned being disabled to pass through security. The aluminum pipe they used as a weapon was hidden inside his crutch.

One of the suspects said their aim was to fly the plane out of the country for a holy war.

The police are now looking into the case and investigating if there was any terrorist group behind the hijacking.

For CRI, I'm Zhang Shuangfeng.

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