Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hijacking drama: Air Mauritania

There was high drama today in the skies over northwest Africa. An Air Mauritania B737 aircraft was commandeered by a pistol-packing hijacker while on a domestic flight between the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott and the northern port town of Nouadhibou. [Click here for Yahoo! Travel map of Mauritania.]

The hijacker demanded to be taken to France. Instead, the crew flew the aircraft to the Canary Islands.

The aircraft, which was said to be carrying 71 passengers and a crew of eight, touched down at Gando Airport on the island of Gran Canaria. According to a Reuters article about the hijacking, "When the pilot landed he deliberately braked very hard. The man fell to the ground and was jumped on by passengers. He fired two bullets but there are no serious injuries."

The hijacker then gave himself up and was arrested by police.

Another report about the hijacking, published on and elsewhere, mentioned that the hijacker was believed to be Moroccan, and that he acted alone.