A flight on the way to Dubai was forced to make an emergency landing in a Bangladesh city on Sunday after an attempted hijacking by a suspect who later died after exchanging gunfire with military commandos, officials said.
The Biman Bangladesh Airlines plane had taken off from the capital of Dhaka to Dubai via Chittagong when it was forced to turn back and make an emergency landing at the airport in Chittagong, according to Rezaul Karim, an official with the Bangladeshi military’s inter-service public affairs office.
A crew member reported "suspicious behavior" by the man, which forced the landing and a massive response of emergency personnel at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong, located 156 miles southeast of Dhaka. Photos posted to Twitter also showed the aircraft being surrounded by emergency personnel.
Air Vice Marshal Mofidur Rahman of Bangladesh’s air force described the suspect as a "terrorist," and said that commandos fired at the suspect after he shot at them when they asked him to surrender, according to ATN TV News. He did not say where the shooting took place, but no other casualties were reported.
An army official told the Associated Press the suspect, whose name has not been released, asked to speak to his wife and to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The suspect died before reaching the hospital, he said.
The suspect appeared to be "mentally imbalanced," said Air Vice Marshal M. Naim Hassan, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority. "I am saying this because of his behavior. He wanted to talk to the prime minister."
The 25-year-old suspect claimed to have had a pistol and a bomb, the Times of India reported.
The Boeing 737-800 aircraft was carrying 142 passengers on board at the time, the airline’s general manager, Shakil Miraj, told Reuters.
“There were 142 passengers and all of them have come out from the aircraft safely,” he told Reuters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.