A recent incident on an Air China flight highlights the fact that guns and knives don’t hijack planes. Hijackers do.
That also applies to fountain pens.
Last Sunday, a man aboard a Air China flight pulled out a fountain pen and threatened the flight crew. Other media reports say the man may have been trying to hijack the plane, not just threaten the crew, but where he might have been trying to go is not known.
An Air China flight bound for Beijing made an unscheduled landing in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou on Sunday after a passenger threatened a flight attendant with a fountain pen, the country’s civil aviation authority said.
In a brief statement on its website, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said a male passenger on Air China Flight 1350, attempted to use the pen to hold the flight attendant “under duress”.
Passengers and crew were unharmed, the statement said.
It appears mental illness was a factor in the incident.
Chinese police said preliminary investigations found the 41-year-old passenger, identified only by his last name Xu, had a “history of mental illness”.
The flight took off from Changsha, the capital of southern Hunan province, at 8:40 a.m. and was scheduled to arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport at around 11 a.m., according to local media reports and flight tracking websites.
But it made the unscheduled landing at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport, in central Henan province, at 9:58 a.m., according to an earlier post on Air China’s official Weibo microblog.
Air China said in the post that the plane made the unscheduled stop due to “public safety reasons”, and that police and civil aviation authorities were handling the situation.
Once again, it appears a man with a mental illness was responsible for what could have been a terrible act of violence.