September 29, 2004


Norwegian pilots land plane after axe attack by passenger (AFP, 9/29/04)

A seemingly unstable passenger attacked two pilots aboard a Norwegian passenger plane with an axe but the aircraft was later able to land, amid concerns over lax security on the country's local flights and at regional airports. [...]

Shortly after the plane finally landed in Bodoe, police arrested the man, discovering a box-cutter in his pocket. Military sniffer dogs were then sent in to search the plane.

"He is from Algeria. He was born in 1970. This is an asylum-seeker who has been turned down ... As far as we can tell he is psychologically unstable," Vangen said, adding that the attacker had not spoken since his arrest and that he would soon undergo a medical examination.

Police first suspected that the man had used a security hatchet already onboard the plane in the attack, but by Wednesday afternoon it was clear that he had smuggled an axe onto the plane with him.

"At first we thought that it was the hatchet onboard but we are no longer of this opinion because that hatchet is still in its place in the cockpit," Vangen said.

According to Nils Rognli, who heads up the Narvik airport for the Norwegian civil aviation authority Avinor, it would not have been difficult for the attacker to smuggle an axe onto the plane.

"It would be very simple since we don't have any security control here in Narvik," he told AFP.

We have "the good, old fashioned system as it was in the past where you just get on the plane", he added, pointing out that he has the equipment needed for security screening, but that it has not yet been installed.

Free societies will justifiablt never make the kinds of changes that would be required to make things like flying safe, but you don't have to have exactly imposed a police state to avoid the series of mistakes here.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 29, 2004 12:55 PM

I've been to Narvik. Nice place but nothing
to destroy there.

The focus here should be just as much on inefficient deportation systems as on airport

Posted by: J.H. at September 29, 2004 1:32 PM

As I point out over at my place, this attack comes only days after a major Norwegian Islamist voiced his support for suicide bombers.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at September 29, 2004 1:37 PM

If just one nutcase like this were tossed out of a plane (at a safe altitude for opening a door), things would be peaceful again.

Posted by: ratbert at September 29, 2004 2:03 PM

Idiot. If he just intended to crash the plane, there are about a dozen things he could have easily obtained that I can think off offhand which would have worked, instead of a hatchet...

Posted by: mike earl at September 29, 2004 2:09 PM

An axe.
That's some carry-on luggage.
Must be a viking thing.

Posted by: at September 29, 2004 4:43 PM

Either Israel isn't a free society, or you're wrong.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 29, 2004 5:19 PM

El Al has managed to end hijackings. I'll still take our record with terrorism over theirs.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 29, 2004 9:16 PM

El Al is a national airline, isn't it? So cross that off. Plus they run only 40 flights a day.

Posted by: oj at September 29, 2004 10:01 PM

What makes this worse is that the Norwegians probably do search the non-Islamic passengers with a fine-tooth comb, but waved this Muslim thug through without a second look, in a frenzy of political correctness.

Posted by: Bart at September 30, 2004 8:19 AM