While talking to the gunman, Lemine realized the hijacker did not understand French.Excellent. And they kicked that highjacker's ass.
The 50-year-old captain used the plane's public address system to tip off passengers in French about his plan to throw the hijacker off-balance so that the flight crew and about 10 passengers in the front rows could subdue him, the Spanish official said.
Lemine also ordered women and children to move to the back rows of the plane in preparation for the subterfuge, the official said.
Around 20 people were slightly injured when the plane braked suddenly, the official added.
Spanish officials — and some passengers — initially were concerned the hijacking was related to the trial that began earlier in the day in Spain for 29 people accused of the 2004 Madrid train bombings.
The hijacker was arrested by Spanish police who boarded the plane after it landed at Gando airport, outside Las Palmas.
It worked. The man was standing in the middle aisle when the pilot carried out his maneuver, and he fell to the floor, dropping one of his two 7mm pistols. Flight attendants then threw boiling water from a coffee machine in his face and at his chest, and some 10 people jumped on the man and beat him, the Spanish official said.