AN AIR China flight was diverted after a male passenger armed with a fountain pen held a crew member hostage, aviation authorities said.

Flight CA1350 had left Changsha in China’s Hunan province on Sunday bound for Beijing.

But about an hour after takeoff, it was forced to land in the city of Zhengzhou after the passenger used a pen to threaten a flight attendant, China’s Civil Aviation Administration said.

The plane made a safe landing and no one on board was harmed, the agency said.

Authorities initially described the incident as “illegal interference”.

The Civil Aviation Authority said the matter was “successfully handled” by police but did not provide any more details.

Witnesses told Beijing News many passengers were alerted to the midair drama when they heard the flight attendant “cry”.

“I think someone uttered a cry, which woke us. Everyone was sleeping ... it was a woman’s cry. Nobody knew what was going on,” one passenger said, according to AFP.

The crew kept passengers calm and in their seats, the passenger added.

The Xiaoxiang Morning Herald quoted a passenger who said the disturbance occurred in the first or business class cabins but that the curtains separating those sections from economy class were pulled tightly shut, AP reported.

The passenger looked out the window and saw police cars, ambulances and fire engines parked outside the plane as it was landing in Zhengzhou, as well as armed personnel in camouflage uniforms.

Zhengzhou airport immediately activated emergency measures when the plane landed, the airport said in a statement.

Police arrested the hostage-taker, who was identified as a 41-year-old man from Hunan province who had a history of mental illness. No further details of his arrest have been released.