BEIJING, July 6 (Xinhua) -- China's aviation authorities on Friday rewarded crew members and passengers that foiled a plane hijacking attempt in northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region last week, calling for persistent vigilance against terrorists and sabotages.
The air crew of the flight GS7554 of Tianjin Airlines who thwarted the hijacking attempt were rewarded 1 million yuan (158,000 U.S. dollars) by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) in total, while security staff on board, Du Yuefeng and Xu Yang, as well as chief attendant Guo Jia, were given honorary titles as "Anti-hijacking Heroes."
Flight captain Zou Jinsong, co-pilots Chen Kaiyuan and Yang Haitao, as well as attendants Lu Hui, Wang Wanyu and Song Jia, were awarded first-class order of merits.
The CAAC also issued a bulletin nationwide praising the CAAC Public Security Bureau, the CAAC regional management authority in Xinjiang, Tianjin Airlines, Xinjiang Airport Group and Hotan Airport control tower for their active roles in responding to the emergency last week.
Also, 23 passengers who helped overpower the six hijackers were rewarded.
The national compensation came one week after six people tried to hijack the plane carrying 100 people just 10 minutes after it took off from Hotan Airport at 12:25 p.m. en route to the regional capital city of Urumqi on June 29. Their attempt was foiled by the crew members and passengers.
When meeting the flight's crew in Beijing on Friday, State Councilor Ma Kai said the foiling of the hijacking attempt demonstrated that the CAAC's emergency response plans had worked against plane hijacking over the years.
"We have an excellent team who are politically reliable and highly disciplined," Ma said.
Ma stressed that security must be given top priority, saying aviation authorities and all relevant departments must as always remain vigilant and meticulously implement all security measures, improve mechanism and measure to ensure the safety of civil aviation.
He noted the country should improve emergency handling capability and effectively respond to all kinds of terrorist attacks and sabotages.
"We must keep in mind the extreme importance of maintaining civil aviation security and as always remain on high alert to stop security loopholes to ensure the absolute safety of civil aviation," he said.
In their fight against the hijackers, two policemen on board were seriously injured while seven other passengers were slightly injured, according to local police.
The plane was safely piloted back to Hotan Airport, and the six suspects are now in police custody.