Two men who tried to hijack a plane in China were killed when passenger and crew fought back, beating the men and tying them up.
The hijackers were part of a six-man team who tried to hijack a Tianjin Airlines flight headed for Urumqi on Friday. The gang broke a pair of aluminum crutches and attacked passengers as they tried to force their way into the cockpit, Australia’s News.com.au reported.
Before they could enter the cockpit the men were tackled by police and passengers, who tied them up with belts as the plane returned to the airport. Police are testing the materials the men were carrying, which are thought to be explosives. Officials confirmed to the Global Times that passengers managed to defuse the bombs before they could be detonated.
Seven people were injured during the fight, and police took the six suspects into custody as soon a the plane landed, the Global Times reported. Two other suspects reportedly mutilated themselves after being subdued by passengers.
Chinese police confirmed to the Global Time on Tuesday that two of the attackers died as a result of their injuries.
The hijackers were reported to be Uighurs, a local Muslim ethnic minority that has clashed with Chinese authorities over government control of their religion and culture. Nearly all of the police officers who foiled the attack were also Uighurs, Chinese officials told the Global Times.
Following the attempted hijacking the Civil Aviation Administration of China tightened security at airports in major cities for flights bound for Xinjiang.