A hijacking attempt on a Chinese plane was foiled today by passengers and crew just after departure, the AP reports, citing state media. The Tianjin Airlines plane had taken off from the remote city of Hotan in the restive far-western region of Xinjiang, and returned there safely 22 minutes later. Six suspects were detained. Hotan has seen clashes recently between the authorities and Muslim Uighurs, who resent government control; the BBC reports that the hijackers were Uighur men.
The men reportedly used a broken crutch as a weapon during their attempt to get into the cockpit. Two on-board guards were seriously injured as the hijackers were overpowered, while seven passengers and one flight attendant suffered minor injuries, Reuters reports. Pictures on Sina Weibo, China's popular microblogging site, showed one of the suspects being held down by passengers, with what appears to be blood on a nearby seat. Chinese officials say they foiled another hijacking plot by an Uighur woman in 2008.