Hijacker Stabbed Pilot, Then Briefly Took Controls Of
A 34-year old man convicted of
killing an All Nippon Airways captain during a domestic flight
six years ago was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison.
The Tokyo court could have sentenced Yuji Nishizawa to death.
But the court found Nishizawa was in a state of "quasi-insanity"
when he burst into the cockpit and stabbed the pilot in the chest
with a kitchen knife.
"The defendant killed the captain and endangered the lives of
over 500 passengers and residents (of areas above which he
temporarily flew the aircraft). Those who commit such a crime
should be punished with death," Presiding Judge Hisaharu Yasui said
as he handed down the ruling. "However, he was in a state of
quasi-insanity because he was under the influence of an
anti-depression drug." The judge was quoted by the Mainichi Daily
ANA Flight 61 was en route from
Sapporro to Tokyo when Nishizawa forced a cabin crew member to open
the cockpit door. He stepped inside and stabbed 51-year old Captain
Naoyuki Nagashima. He then took the controls of the aircraft for
some six minutes before other pilots in the aircraft noticed the
747-400 was flying "alarmingly low." That's when the other pilots
rushed into the cockpit and subdued Nishizawa.