Australian plane makes emergency landing
after elderly passenger seizes controls
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[August 26, 2014]
SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian
pilot made an emergency landing after wresting back the controls of his
light aircraft from an 82-year-old passenger who grabbed them midflight,
the aircraft's charter company said.
Police said the elderly man chartered the small four-seater
Beechcraft Duchess plane on Monday for a business trip from the
Sydney suburb of Bankstown to Cowra, a distance of about 186 kms
But he began acting erratically midway through the flight, moving to
shut down the plane's engines and seizing the control stick, a
spokesman for charter company Australia by Air told reporters.
The 23-year-old pilot restrained the passenger and made a distress
call before safely landing the plane in a field, police said.
"The pilot displayed excellent airmanship and skill during the
landing, and we thank him for his professionalism," the company said
in a statement.
Police Inspector Mark Wall said the man was in stable condition in
hospital in Sydney, with injuries to his face. The pilot was treated
for shock and discharged.
It was not immediately clear what caused the elderly man to attempt
to seize the plane. Police say they are investigating the incident.
(Reporting by Samantha Mountford; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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