Monday, 18 February 2008

Fracas in mid-air

There was an item of news earlier this month which must have been of much interest to anyone compiling an anthology called Amazing Stories from New Zealand, and finding himself a bit short of content.

Reports in the Australian and New Zealand press were fairly incoherent, but most included some of the following details: 33-year-old Blenheim woman (or in some reports, "Somali refugee") attempts to hijack small commuter plane going to Christchurch, produces a knife and has another in her shoe, says there is a bomb on board and demands to be taken to Australia, tries to seize the controls, wrestles on the floor with the pilots, stabs one on the hand and the other on the foot, plane lands safely and armed police with dogs arrest the woman.

Two of the passengers, according to one newspaper "were named as a man and a woman".

Clearly an exciting time was had by all, and there were international repercussions: "...the England cricket team's flight from Christchurch to Wellington was delayed for two-and-a-half hours".

Nowadays the threat posed by two knives and a bomb does not dismay experienced airline pilots: one wonders whether the incident might have ended less happily if the woman had armed herself with something more calculated to inspire terror.

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