Beijing: An Air China flight was forced to make a landing in central China for an unspecified “public security” reason Sunday and all passengers made it safely off the plane, the airline and authorities said.
Beijing-bound Flight 1350 landed in Zhengzhou city at 10 a.m. due to an “illegal interference,” the Zhengzhou city airport said on its official account on the microblog Weibo.com. It had taken off at 8:40 a.m. Sunday from the city of Changsha in Hunan province and was scheduled to land in Beijing at 11 a.m.
In its brief report on Weibo, state broadcaster China Central Television included an image of what appeared to be paramilitary police in combat uniforms and helmets assembled outside a Zhengzhou airport hotel and another image of several ambulances.
The Zhengzhou airport immediately activated emergency measures, its statement said, adding that the passengers who disembarked from the plane were in a stable mood and that the airport is operating normally.
It was unclear if the “interference” referred to a possible hijacking attempt and authorities provided no other details. The airline said police and aviation authorities were handling the matter and refused to provide further information.
The Beijing News said on its Weibo page that a passenger described being awoken by a scream coming from the front of the plane and that “nobody knew what was going on.”
The Xiaoxiang Morning Herald quoted a passenger as saying that the disturbance occurred in the first or business class cabins but that the curtains separating those sections from economy class were pulled tightly shut.
She looked out the window and saw many police cars, ambulances and fire engines parked outside the plane as it was landing in Zhengzhou, the newspaper said in a Weibo post. The passenger described seeing armed personnel in camouflage uniforms assembled in two or three rows.