View Full Version : Pilots attacked during Air Algeria flight

I. M. Esperto
21st Jan 2003, 12:20

Pilots attacked during Air Algeria flight

January 20 2003 at 12:35PM

Algiers - Three young men - all unarmed - attacked the crew in the cockpit during an Air Algeria flight headed for the capital, the official APS news agency and airport officials reported on Monday.

The Sunday night flight that originated in Paris landed without incident, said the agency.

The men, all about 25 years of age, entered the cockpit and demanded to speak to a top Algerian official, said an airport official, speaking on condition he not be further identified.

The three boarded the plane, carrying 161 passengers, on a stopover in the eastern Algerian city of Constantine, said APS.

That hijacking came at the height of a bloody Islamic insurgency
They then went into the cockpit. One shut the door while the other two attacked the pilot and co-pilot, according to the airport official.

The attackers were overcome by other crew members, and turned over to police, said the official.

Further information was not immediately available, including who the men demanded to meet. It was not immediately clear whether the three were members of one of the Islamic insurgency movements active in Algeria for the past decade.

It was the first known incident on an Air Algeria flight since a spectacular hijacking on Christmas Eve 1994 when a team from the radical Armed Islamic Group took over an aircraft full of passengers and demanded to fly to Paris.

Three passengers were killed during the three-day drama that ended in Marseille where a French rapid-action team stormed the plane and killed the hijackers.

That hijacking came at the height of a bloody Islamic insurgency triggered when the army cancelled the January 1992 legislative elections that a now-banned Muslim fundamentalist party was poised to win.

The insurgency continues 10 years later.

The violence has killed an estimated 120 000 people. - Sapa-AP

21st Jan 2003, 18:32
In this day and age .... how the heck can three young men get onto the flight deck? ........

Notso Fantastic
21st Jan 2003, 19:01
Do you really think everybody now is as fastidious at procedures as Western Airlines at the moment, especially an Arab airline that probably thinks itself reasonably safe?

21st Jan 2003, 19:17
Later reports not quite so dramatic: from Yahoo news (http://biz.yahoo.com/rm/030120/crime_algeria_hijack_3.html)

Air Algerie said in a statement that a man threatened the crew, demanding the plane be refuelled and flown to South Korea. The airline said he wanted to see "a high official" on landing.

On arrival at Algiers' Houari Boumediene airport, "the flight captain with the help of security forces managed to overpower the individual," the statement said. He was arrested and was being held by security forces.

The hijacker "was not behaving normally and was apparently under the influence of drugs," Air Algerie added.

Earlier reports that he had two accomplices carrying bombs were unfounded, security sources said.