27 August 2010

The end of the 2008 Hijack Drama

A Somali woman who tried to hijack a plane over the South Island was jailed for nine years this morning. Asha Ali Abdille, a refugee, was today sentenced at Christchurch District Court for the 2008 attempted hijacking of a 19-seater Jetstream 32 aircraft on a flight from Blenheim to Christchurch. It is the first time anyone in New Zealand has been convicted of a plane hijack offence. Abdille was ordered to serve a minimum non-parole period of six years. Another seven charges - three of taking an offensive weapon onto an aircraft and four of injuring or wounding with reckless disregard - were dropped at a three-day hearing last month. Abdille, a vineyard worker, took three knives aboard the flight, and used one to cut the pilot. She demanded he fly to Australia, but when he said they did not have enough fuel, she suggested they fly into the sea. When the plane landed at Christchurch, Abdille was overpowered by the pilot and first officer. The pilot received cuts to both hands and needed extensive surgery to reattach muscles, tendons and a nerve. He was also cut on his back. The first officer was cut on his foot and a passenger was also wounded.

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