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30. September 2004  
I'm going to crash this plane

axman.gifA 34-year-old asylum seeker grabbed the control stick and screamed that he was going to crash the plane. In the fight that followed, he injured two pilots and one passenger with an axe.

Im going to crash this plane, screamed the asylum applicant who started the axe drama onboard the Kato Airline Wednesday afternoon.

Plunged towards the ground

In the chaos that emerged, the plane plunged towards the ground. The pilots did not regain control over the plane until it was about 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground.

It was very dramatic, said Tone Vangen, acting police chief at Salten police district, at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. The pilots managed in some amazing way to get control over the plane.

The pilots have explained that they were just above Tverlandet when one of the passengers had gotten up from his seat and into the cockpit. Here he attacked the pilots with an axe.

At the same time, he pressed the control stick forward so that the plane almost went in a dive. The pilots regained control over the plane, reported Salten police district in a press release.

Two of the passengers managed to drag the man out of the cockpit and force him down on the floor. They managed to keep him down until the plane had parked. Personnel from the fire department at the airport went onboard and retained the man. Personnel from Bod police station arrived shortly thereafter, according to the police.

May get 21 years in jail

The 34-year-old is charged in accordance to paragraph 148 for attempting to crash the plane. The sentence for crashing a plane or for attempting to do so is between 2 to 21 years depending on the circumstances. If anyone is killed or is severely injured in the incident the minimum sentence is 5 years.

Axe is not from the plane

The police stated earlier that the axe used onboard was from the plane. This later appeared not to be correct.

First we thought the axe was a part of the planes emergency equipment, but we dont think that any more after having seen the axe and because the axe in the cockpit is still there, Vangen said.

According to safety requirements, there is an axe in the cockpit for emergencies, and it is supposed to be used to shatter windows in case of emergency. The passengers do not have access to it.

When the police searched the mans luggage, they located a hunting knife.

Head injuries

The police received a call from the tower at Bod airport at 10:45 a.m. stating that a North African man in his 30s had gone berserk during the planes approach. The two pilots had just been attacked with the axe.

A passenger was attacked as well. All three suffer from head injures due to the attack, but none of them have life threatening injuries.

Unknown motive

The mans motive for the action is still not known. He was arrested and is detained at Bod. He will be questioned as soon as possible.

The perpetrator is from Algeria, said Margrete Troseter, police prosecutor at Salten police district, to TV 2 Nettavisen.

She does not know the reason for the attack.

According to Geir Lndahl, head of information at the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI), the perpetrator got his asylum application rejected in June of last year.

The case was forwarded to the Immigration Appeals Board (UNE) where he received a rejection in May of this year.

He has been living at an asylum center in Narvik until this Saturday, but he is now to be sent out of the country, Vangen said. He has been at the asylum center longer than he was allowed to.

The police stated that a doctor will examine the perpetrator.

Plane grounded

There were a total of seven persons on board the plane. The passengers are going to be questioned by the police.

We are following our routines for taking care of the people who were on board the plane to Bod, said rjan Nyborg, daily manager at Kato Airline.

The plane, a Dornier 228, will remain at Bod airport.

Alf Magne Johansen, head of operations at Salten police district, said to TV 2 Nettavisen that they will conduct a search of the plane.

The plane will remain on the ground Johansen said.

Via Nettavisen News in English". Photo: TV2.


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