A Dubai-bound flight made an emergency landing in southeast Bangladesh on Sunday after a man attempted to hijack the plane, authorities said.
The man, described by authorities as a “terrorist,” was fatally shot by military commandos who stormed the plane after it landed at an airport in Chittagong, an official told the Associated Press, declining to specify where, exactly, the shooting occurred.
The flight, operated by state-run Biman Bangladesh Airlines, took off from Dhaka, the country’s capital, just after 4:30 p.m. local time but had to make the emergency detour just 40 minutes and 150 miles later, officials said.
More than 140 passengers and seven crew members were on the Boeing 737-800 jet, and all were safely evacuated, a Bangladesh air force air vice marshal said at a news conference.
The pilot decided to make the landing and alert authorities after a crew member noticed the wannabe hijacker’s “suspicious behavior,” Reuters reported. Agence France-Presse said one passenger saw the man “fire twice” while the plane was airborne.
The suspect, an unnamed Bangladeshi man believed to be 25, threatened the pilot and demanded to talk to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, army Maj. Gen. Matiur Rahman said, AP reported.
The man appeared unhinged, and M. Naim Hassan, chairman of the Bangladeshi aviation authority, called him “mentally imbalanced.”
“I am saying this because of his behavior,” Hassan said. “He wanted to talk to the prime minister.”
Authorities said they surrounded the aircraft and, after a brief standoff, captured the man. Rahman said the military commandos fired at him only after he shot at them when asked to surrender.
“We tried to talk to him, but he took an attacking position. Our commandos had to move swiftly. They took action. He was brought out injured, but later died,” Rahman said, according to the Bangladeshi newspaper the Daily Star.
“It was a swift operation,” he said. “We didn’t even have the time to name the operation.”