Unnamed Passenger

In December 2000, six hours after a Boeing 707 had taken off on a flight from London to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, a 27 year-old man got out of his seat and started walking back and forth in the aisle. Then he suddenly entered the cockpit through unlocked doors.

A few seconds later two passengers sitting near the front of the plane heard the pilot shouting, “Help!” They got up and went into the cockpit and found the man wrestling with the crew members. The passengers joined the fight. They all tried to stop the man from touching the controls of the plane, but somehow he suceeded in turning off the plane’s automatic pilot and it began to dive toward the ground. As it dived, the plane shook violently. Things began flying through the air and people hit their heads on the ceiling. Then all the oxygen masks dropped down and the lights went out. People were screaming. The plane flew properly for a minute but then it started diving again. And then the engines stopped.

Finally the crew members and the passengers managed to get the man under control and to restart the plane’s engines and stop it from diving. The man was dragged out of the cockpit in handcuffs and tied down with a seat belt. When everything was over, the pilot—who had bite marks on his ear and fingers—told the passengers what had happened. He said, “A very nasty man has just tried to kill us all.” He went on to explain that the plane had come very close to turning over on its back—and if that had happened, there would have been no way of stopping it from crashing.

- information from the Toronto Star, 00.12.30