A knife-welding Kazakh attempted to hijack an Alitalia flight from Paris to Rome Sunday night, demanding the plane be diverted to Libya. Passengers onboard said the man whipped out a knife and held it closely to the throat of a female FA for a few minutes before passengers and other FAs were able to overpower him. The Kazach man, 48-year old Valery Tolmachev, is (well, was…) a United Nations worker in Paris. A doctor onboard administered a sedative to keep him quiet until the plane landed at Rome’s Fiumicino airport, where the flight was met on the ground by police authorities.
Thankfully, no one was hurt. Once again, we see that it was not airport security or an air marshal that saved the day, but passengers and flight attendants. If anything, the security screeners let a knife slip through the Charles de Gaulle airport security checkpoint.
TSA Administrator John Pisotle and others in the organization repeatedly assert that the TSA is the last line of defense in the "fight" to keep the skies safe. Time and again, we have seen that this is a bald-faced lie, uttered without any regard for facts like the failed Alitalia hijacking attempt that suggest otherwise.
Passengers and onboard crews will continue to be the last line of defense against the deranged and depraved wishing to wreak havoc onboard and the passengers and crew onboard AZ329 last night deserve our praise for their decisive action that quickly diffused what could have been a very messy situation.