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May 29, 2003

A PACK, NOT A HERD:

A man armed with two sharpened wooden stakes tried to hijack and crash a Qantas domestic jet with 47 passengers aboard shortly after take-off from Melbourne today, authorities said.

The 40-year-old man stabbed two flight attendants and injured two other people before he was overpowered by crew and passengers aboard QF1737. He was in custody tonight. . . .

Agent Cato said passengers who intervened and overwhelmed the man before he could get to the cockpit were "quite heroic".

Passenger Keith Charlton was among those who helped overpower the attacker.

He said he was seated in the third aisle of plane when a man in a "brown suit raced past me with his hands raised in the air".

He said the man, who was holding aloft two sharpened wooden stakes, stabbed the chief flight attendant "Greg".

"The fellow Greg, really was a hero ... if it wasn't for him we could've been in a lot of trouble," he told Sky News.

"As he was being attacked, he put his head down into the man's chest and he pushed him back down the plane.

"He had two severe injuries to his head; one was on the chin, one was on the top of his head," Mr Charlton said.

Six men then rushed to Greg's aid.

This is why confiscating tweezers is silly. You can't hijack a plane anymore, because the passengers won't allow it.