Shortly after an Air Mauritania flight took off on Thursday evening, it was hijacked by a gunman. But thanks to a rough landing, forewarned passengers were able douse the hijacker in boiling water, tackle, and restrain him.
The turning point came when the pilot realized the gunman, Mohamed Abderraman, didn’t speak French. Using the plane’s public address system, the pilot then alerted the passengers — in French — to his plan to take the plane down hard. After warning women and children to move to the back of the plane, the pilot broke abruptly upon landing, then quickly sped up — throwing Abderraman off-balance, and giving the passengers the chance they’d been waiting for.
Abderraman wasn’t a terrorist, but instead wanted the plane to fly to France so he could request political asylum. Upon arriving at Gando airport outside Las Palmas — the plane’s original destination — he was arrested by Spanish police.
That’s one quick-thinking pilot, and a plane full of heroic passengers.