Special forces troops stormed a plane on the tarmac of a Bangladesh airport on Sunday, fatally shooting a passenger who had forced its landing and sought to speak with the country’s prime minister, the local news media said.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Flight BG-147 had been traveling to Dubai from Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, the Dhaka Tribune reported. The passenger stormed the cockpit minutes after takeoff on Sunday afternoon, forcing the pilot into making an emergency landing in Chittagong, where the plane had been scheduled to make a stop.
All fourteen crew members and the other 134 passengers were safely evacuated after the landing at Shah Amanat International Airport on Sunday evening, a Bangladeshi Army officer, Maj. Gen. S.M. Matiur Rahman, told reporters. Commandos stormed the plane afterward and shot the man, who refused to surrender.
Passengers and officials initially told reporters that the suspect, identified as Mahadi, a Bangladeshi man in his mid-20s, had been carrying a pistol, but a local police commissioner, Mahabubor Rahman, later said it was a fake.
Officials said that during the standoff, the suspect told army officials that he wanted to speak with his wife and Bangladesh’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina.
Mrs. Hasina had been in Chittagong, officially known as Chattogram, earlier on Sunday, but returned to Dhaka, about 150 miles northwest, before the hijacking took place, the Dhaka Tribune said.
M. Naim Hassan, the chairman of Bangladesh’s Civil Aviation Authority, told reporters that the suspect appeared “mentally imbalanced.”
“I am saying this because of his behavior,” Mr. Hassan said. “He wanted to talk to the prime minister.”
The suspect died before reaching a Chittagong hospital, officials said. It was unclear as of Monday morning how he had managed to board the flight, a Boeing 737-800, with what looked like a gun.
In December, Bangladesh’s governing party handily won parliamentary elections, clinching a third consecutive term for Mrs. Hasina. But local and international rights organizations accused the party, the Awami League, of creating an intimidating atmosphere by arresting and harassing opposition candidates and preventing them from campaigning.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines, the national flag carrier, was established in 1972, according to the Australia-based CAPA Center for Aviation. It operates domestic passenger service across Asia and Europe.