Business man saves plane from ‘suspicious’ passenger

Every Papua New Guinean feels proud when flying internationally or domestically on the national flag carrier, Air Niugini.

To be proud means to do anything that will sometimes put your life at risk to do something extraordinary.

Businessman, Mathew Minape who was on a business trip to Singapore on Monday on an Air Niugini flight PX 392 – a Boeing 767 aircraft - saved the plane and the passengers from a passenger, Colonel Devananodou who was behaving suspiciously on the plane.

Minape, who returned from Singapore this morning told reporters at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby that the situation was the first of its kind for him. He said however that he is always prepared to face such incidents as he is a frequent traveler.

He said he noticed Devananodou, who he claimed to be from India acting suspiciously at the Jacksons International Airport and reported the matter to security officers.

The security officers intervened and checked the passenger which delayed the plane for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Devananodou was transiting from the Solomon Islands.

Minape said the incident happened at about 7pm (local time) in the Indonesian airspace when Devananodou took out a life jacket, inflated it and wore it.

He said his (Devananodou’s) movements  back and forth into the restroom seemed suspicious when he was trying to reach for the exit doors when he, (Minape) intervened.

“I went and asked him why he was wearing the lifejacket but could not talk as his entire face was covered by the life jacket.

“With the help from the other passenger also from PNG, we got hold of Devananodou and placed him in between us.”

Minape added that the Captain and the crew were alerted.

However, he said the Captain didn’t want to raise an alarm as he didn’t want to create a panic situation for the passengers but to calm the situation.

He said the incident happened just 45 minutes prior to landing time.

He said as soon as they landed in Singapore, Devananodou was released first by the crew and didn’t know where they might have taken him to.

But, Minape claimed that the Captain may have sennt reports while on the plane and alerted the security staff on the ground.

Air Niugini management is aware of the situation and will be releasing a formal statement later today.

Freddy Mou