A Jetstream aircraft operated by Eagle Air which was carrying seven passengers, four New Zealanders, an Australian and an Indian national, on a trip from the city of Blenheim to Christchurch on South Island, had a little more excitement than they planned on when they bought their tickets as a woman stormed the cockpit wielding a knife and stabbed both the pilots and threatened to blow up the plane.
A woman, 33, that lives in Blenheim but was originally from Somalia and was a passenger on a New Zealand commuter plane, has been charged with hijacking after she allegedly stabbed both pilots and threatened to blow up the 19-seat aircraft.
The flight departed at 7:20am and the distress call was sent by the pilots at 7:40am.
Police spokesman Inspector Kieren Kortegast said the 33 yr old woman was arrested after the plane had landed on South Island and Dave Cliff, Christchurch police commander, said the injuries for the pilots were not serious, one has his hand cut and the other had an injury to his foot.
One passenger and the woman arrested were treated for minor cuts.
According to the Reuters article on this story, the woman was disarmed by the plane hitting turbulence in midair.
The woman was charged with hijacking and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and was due to appear in court on Saturday.
The plane was boarded by a bomb squad but no bomb was found and this incident shut down the airport for three hours allowing no incoming or outgoing flights.
Bruce Parton, Air New Zealand general manager of short haul airlines, said the airline would be reviewing their security procedures, because on short haul flights at New Zealand airports people do not have to pass through security screening, and went on to say "Today's incident, although a one-off, has naturally given us cause to conduct a thorough review of our safety and security systems and processes on regional domestic flights."
In this day and age, what airport wouldn't screen and make everyone pass through airport security?