Global General

Attempt to hijack plane to Libya thwarted

Updated: 2011-04-25 10:42
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ROME - A man on a flight from Paris to Rome on Sunday night attacked a hostess and tried to divert the flight to Tripoli, but he was stopped thanks to the rapid reaction of some flight attendants and passengers on board, Italian media reported.

According to the local news agency Ansa, the incident happened around 9:30 pm on flight AZ329 linking the two European capitals. The attacker, who was in obvious agitation but was not drunk at the moment, tried to assault a flight attendant using a nail clipper blade and asked for a flight diversion to the Libyan capital.

The hostess, however, resisted, and thanks to the prompt help from some other flight attendants and passengers, the man was brought under control and was pinned in his seat, according to the report.

The flight, with 131 passengers aboard, landed safely at Rome's Fiuminico Airport. The attacker has been handed over to the police, and the hostess, who only suffered minor injuries to the neck, was sent to an emergency room at the airport.

According to the report, the attacker, identified as Valeriy Tolmachev, is a Kazakh citizen and 48 years old. He is an adviser to the Kazakh delegation at UNESCO in Paris. Investigation is being conducted by Italian police in close contact with French authorities to find out the real intentions of the attacker.