WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A Somali refugee was sentenced to nine years in prison Friday after pleading guilty to trying to hijack a small domestic airliner in 2008 in the first such attack in New Zealand.
Asha Ali Abdille, 33, took three knives aboard the flight, which she demanded be diverted to Australia. The pilots refused, saying the airplane, which was flying between the provincial town of Blenheim and the city of Christchurch, both on South Island, didn't have enough fuel.
Abdille then attacked them and a passenger and demanded the 19-seater airplane fly into the sea. The plane landed safely in the southern city of Christchurch, where she was overpowered by the pilots. It was not made clear in Christchurch High Court why Abdille wanted to go to Australia.