Woman on New Zealand hijack charge committed to hospital

Other News Materials 9 February 2008 03:22 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - A woman charged with hijacking a small commuter plane in New Zealand was committed to a psychiatric hospital when she appeared in court Saturday.

Asha Abdille, 33, a Somali immigrant, was committed under the Mentally Impaired Persons Act after a brief appearance at the Christchurch District Court, Radio New Zealand reported.

She also faced charges of wounding the two pilots on the 19-seater aircraft which was on a scheduled domestic flight from Blenheim to Christchurch on Friday when she allegedly attacked them with two knives.

A further charge alleges she injured a woman who was one of the six other passengers on the Air New Zealand flight.

The court imposed a ban on publication of the names of the pilots and injured passenger.

The hijacking charge carries a possible life prison sentence.

Christchurch airport was closed for more than two hours after the plane landed while army bomb squad experts searched it without finding any explosives on board.