Friday, 8 February 2008 - 11:25am |
National News

Blenheim flight stabbing

2 min read

At approximately 7.40am today, a May Day call was received via the NZ Rescue Coordination Centre from an Air New Zealand chartered flight travelling from Blenheim to Christchurch (plane chartered from Air National Auckland).

A 33 year old female passenger who is understood to be a Blenheim resident of African ethnicity was reported to have attacked the pilots during the flight.

One pilot received cuts to his hand and arm and the second pilot received a wound to the foot. It is alleged that a knife caused these injuries.

There were seven passengers on board including the suspect.

It was claimed by the female passenger that she had bombs on board the aircraft.

Aviation Security were alerted and Police notified.

The airport was secured and emergency services were placed on standby.

The pilots successfully landed the aircraft at Christchurch Airport at approximately 8.06 am and it was immediately cordoned by Police with Ambulance and Fire support.

Passengers exited the aircraft through the rear and were immediately taken from the area by Police.

The pilots requested Police board the plane.

Police Armed Offender Squad Dog Handlers entered the plane and apprehended the woman.

Ambulance have treated and taken to hospital the two pilots.

Their injuries are not life threatening. One passenger received a minor injury that was treated at the scene.

Passengers are with Police and are being interviewed to confirm exactly what has taken place. The passengers comprised of four New Zealanders, one man from Victoria in Australia and one person from India.

The female passenger is in custody and is understood to have a minor cut to the hand which was also treated at the scene.

Enquiries are being conducted by the Blenheim Police as to the identity and background of the suspect.

It is not known whether a bomb is on board and for that reason, the aircraft has been cordoned and the army bomb disposal team have been called to determine whether a bomb is on board.

In order to keep other aircraft and people at the airport safe, the area around the aircraft has been cordoned until the Army have an opportunity to assess whether a bomb is on board.

The risks because of aviation fuel are significant and for that reason a wide cordon has been required.

Police are requesting people be patient as a number of road blocks are in place and Police request traffic stay well away from the airport unless people have a need to be in the area.

Army arrived at 0900 to assess the situation and have elected to search the aircraft where it is currently positioned.

The International Airport is being used for Domestic travel and the airport is now operating. The airport was reopened at seven minutes past eleven this morning.

Further updates will be provided as available.

Superintendent Dave Cliff

District Commander