Authorities have launched an investigation into a security breach at the Taizhou Luqiao Airport in Zhejiang province after a passenger who’d boarded a Shenzhen Airlines flight from Taizhou to Guangzhou on Sunday tried to start a fire on the cabin of the plane… twice.
The passenger had reportedly managed to carry gas and a cigarette lighter onto the plane and ignited the flames at around 1:00 a.m., as the aircraft was preparing to land.
Passengers and cabin crew members managed to subdue the man before he could carry out the arson attack.
The suspect, aged between 40 and 50 years old, was seen walking towards the plane’s first-class section with newspapers and a shoulder bag, according to Huang Caihong, a witness cited in the Qianjiang Evening News.
The man lit up the newspapers but the flames were quickly put out by cabin crew. He then took out a knife and walked towards the economy class, where he was blocked by passengers and a couple of stewards. Afterwards, he walked towards first-class and attempted to ignite another fire, Shanghai Daily said.
All 95 passengers and nine crew members evacuated via emergency slide as soon as the plane landed in Guangzhou. Two people were injured and the arsonist was detained.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China has since issued a notice asking local branches to strengthen aviation security checks on medium-sized and small airports, CRI reports. The Taizhou airport is apparently still operating normally.