London, Friday December 29th, 12 noon. British Airways has confirmed that a male passenger on board BA2069, from Gatwick to Nairobi, attempted to seize the flight controls of the Boeing 747-400 about 5 and a half hours into the flight.
Thanks to the efforts of the crew and some of the passengers on board, the situation was brought quickly under control and the passenger restrained.
The aircraft left London Gatwick at 23.00, Thursday December 28, one hour later than its scheduled departure time.
At 04.53 GMT, a male passenger entered the cockpit and there was a two minute struggle between the flight crew and the man, thought to be a Kenyan national.
During the struggle, the auto-pilot was disengaged, causing the aircraft to make some sudden manoeuvres.
This resulted in minor injuries to four passengers and one female member of the cabin crew. The captain, one of the airline’s most experienced pilots with 30 years service, sustained bite wounds to his ear and finger.
The flight crew included Captain William Hagan, 53, and First Officers Phil Watson, 38 and Richard Webb, 35 with ten and four years experience respectively.
The flight landed safely in Nairobi and five people needing medical attention were taken to a local hospital.
The passenger who entered the flight deck was arrested on arrival at Nairobi at approximately 07.10GMT.
Mike Street, British Airways Director of Customer Service and Operations, said: “Our crew are trained to deal with every situation, however rare, and it was this training and their professionalism that ensured a quick resolution of the incident. We are extremely proud of them.”