Bangladesh Biman Hijack attempt: 'It was a toy gun' | Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 27, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:08 AM, February 27, 2019

Biman Hijack Bid: 'It was a toy gun'

How the suspect carried it to aircraft remains a mystery

It was a toy gun, not a real one, the suspect was carrying during a plane hijack bid on Sunday, and there were no explosives inside the flight either, a top government official involved in probing the incident told The Daily Star yesterday.

The official also confirmed that the suspect had small pieces of plastic pipes, wrapped in red tapes, which passengers initially thought to be explosive substances.

“But in investigation, it is found those were just plastic pipes,” said the official, requesting anonymity.

Asked about some passengers' claim of hearing sounds that seemed to be gunshots, he said, “Even toy and dummy pistols used in shooting films can make sounds like real guns.”

He further said the probe body, formed by the civil aviation ministry early Monday, after talking to several passengers presumed that alleged hijacker Polash Ahmed was “mentally imbalanced”.

The committee is determined to complete its investigation within the stipulated five working days and make the report public, said the official, who is a member of the probe body.

The Boeing 737-800 aircraft made an emergency landing at the Chattogram airport at 5:41pm on Sunday after Polash allegedly attempted to hijack the plane. He was killed later in an eight-minute operation by the members of army para commando unit.

The question remains how he boarded the plane at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka carrying a toy gun with no red flags raised at the security checkpoints.

Nothing suspicious was noticed when he made his way through metal detectors and his luggage passed through X-ray scanners at the entrance to the terminal and at the boarding gate, claimed officials on Monday.

Asked about it, the probe body member said it will come out in investigation whether there was any security lapse or the suspect got the toy gun from any source during the bus ride between the boarding gate and the aircraft.    

Meanwhile, the case in this connection has been handed over to Counter Terrorism (CT) unit of Chattogram Metropolitan Police soon after it was filed on Monday night with Patenga Police Station.

Police sources said those who conducted the commando operation handed over 15 pieces of evidence, including a toy gun, to investigators. It could not be known anything about the rest of the evidence. 

Contacted, Md Shahidullah, deputy commissioner of the CT unit, said they would send the evidence to the offices concerned for examination.

Debabrata Sarker, technology assistant at the Shah Amanat International Airport in Chattogram, filed the case in which he said the suspect was seen carrying objects looking like bomb and firearm during the hijack bid 15 minutes after the plane took off from Dhaka.

Meanwhile, Polash was buried in his village under Sonargaon upazila in Narayanganj yesterday morning. The body, earlier kept at Chattogram Medical College morgue, was handed over to his father Piyar Jahan Sarder after identification.

PASSENGER'S PHOTO ID MANDATORY

Passengers will have to carry photo IDs while travelling to local destinations by air, according to an instruction issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (Caab) last night.

Valid passports, NID cards, driving licences, or office IDs will have to be shown while collecting boarding cards, Biman also said in a statement.

Students will have to show their ID cards issued by their educational institutions.

Biman requested the passengers to keep their photo IDs for domestic flights. "Otherwise, they'll be restricted from travelling."

“Earlier we issued such a notice but it was not enforced strictly. This time passengers will not be allowed to fly if they fail to show their photo IDs,” said a CAAB official.

[Amir Hasan Shahriar, FM Mizanur Rahman and Sanad Saha contributed to this report]

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