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Swedish pilot wrests gun from hijacker

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11:22 CET+01:00
Swedish pilot Mikael Andersson, 32, was the hero of an attempted hijacking of a plane in Portugal on Friday. The drama unfolded shortly after take off from Cascais, west of Lisbon, on Friday.

Andersson managed to overpower and disarm the would-be hijacker after a gun had been pointed at his head. Posing as a photographer, the hijacker - a former soldier - had boarded the plane in an attempt to flee having shot two of his neighbours in a land dispute earlier in the day, according to Portuguese media reports.

Andersson avoided crashing the plane by ascending, allowing the other two passengers, two parachutists, to jump from the aircraft to safety.

But the hijacker managed to wrestle control of the aircraft.

"I was convinced that he was about to fly the plane into a house, because he was aiming for a residential area," Andersson told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

The pilot averted disaster by taking the co-pilot's place, fighting for control of the plane and jettisoning fuel so that it crashed at Tires airport near Lisbon.

On landing, Andersson fled the aircraft and the hijacker committed suicide by shooting himself.

Andersson confirmed that the experience had not given him cause to reconsider his position at the private Portuguese airline.

"I'm presuming that this was a one off," he said of the hijacking drama.

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