World

Japanese hijacker held after killing pilot

A computer-game fan who wanted to try the real thing hijacked a Japanese jumbo jet Friday, stabbed the pilot to death in mid-air and seized control of the airliner before being overpowered by crew members, police and media said.

Police said the All Nippon Airways plane carrying 517 people returned safely to Tokyo's Haneda airport after the co-pilot and off-duty crew stormed the cockpit and subdued the hijacker, using neck ties and rope to bind him to the pilot's seat.

The attempt to subdue the hijacker came when the packed plane lurched suddenly as the assailant, who forced the co-pilot out of the cockpit shortly after take-off, tried to pilot it.

The plane had taken off from Haneda at 10:55 a.m. (9:55 p.m. EDT Thursday) and was heading for Hokkaido, Japan's northern island. It landed back in Tokyo an hour and 19 minutes later.

ANA pilot Naoyuki Nagashima, a 51-year-old father of two, was the first fatality in the 20 Japanese hijackings on record. There were no other injuries among crew or passengers.

Media reports said the hijacker, who attacked the pilot with a 12-inch knife, was a 28-year-old Tokyo resident who had been treated for depression in the past and had attempted suicide.

The man, who had demanded that the plane fly to a U.S. Air Force base in Yokota in western Tokyo, played computerized flight-simulation games and wanted to try the real thing, Japanese media reported.