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Posted: March 29, 2016

The most famous, deadliest, oddest hijackings and how they ended

By Debbie Lord

Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A man who hijacked an EgyptAir jetliner has been arrested following a standoff in Cyprus on Tuesday. The man’s motive in taking over the plane, authorities say, apparently had something to do with his ex-wife.

Love isn’t the usual motive when a person tries to force a plane  to fly somewhere, and while Tuesday’s hijacking ended without bloodshed, that’s not always the case.

>>Read More: EgyptAir hijacking: What we know now

Here’s a look at a few of the most famous, oddest, deadliest hijackings in history and how they ended.

1. One of the earliest hijackings on record occurred on September 25, 1932. It happened when three men commandeered a plane and  a hostage from an airport hangar in Brazil, took off, despite the fact that none  of the hijackers, nor the hostage knew  how to fly a  plane. They crashed the plane in Sao Joao de Meriti, killing all on board. 

2. One of the longest hijackings on record took place in December 1999. An Indian Airline flight was hijacked  by a terror group based in Pakistan. The group held  the plane for seven days, flying it from Amristar to Lahore to Dubai to Kandahar. The hijackers released 27 of 176 passengers in Dubai. One passenger was stabbed to death. The incident ended after India agreed to release three militants – Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar,Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Maulana Masood Azhar.

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3. In the 1960s and '70s, several planes were hijacked  in America with people demanding to be taken to Cuba. The first such hijacking happened on May 1, 1962 when a man with a knife and a gun demanded a National Airlines flight be diverted  from Marathon, Fla., to Havana, Cuba.

4. The hijacking carried out by the youngest American hijacker happened Nov. 10, 1969 when 14-year-old David Booth hijacked a Delta Airlines flight from Cincinnati to Chicago. After the incident ended peacefully, Booth was not prosecuted because of his age.

5. One of the most celebrated hijackings came the day before Thanksgiving in  1971 when a man who gave his name as D.B.  Cooper hijacked  a Northwest Orient Airlines 727 somewhere between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Wash. The man told flight attendants  he had a bomb in his briefcase and demanded  $200,000 (over a million in today’s money),  and a parachute. The plane  landed in Seattle and his demands were met. The passengers  were released and the plane refueled. They took off with just  the crew, and somewhere over the Cascade Mountains in Washington, Cooper jumped from the plane with the cash. While a portion of the ransom money was found along a creek in 1980, neither Cooper nor  the bulk of the money  was ever found.

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6. A year later, in June, 1972, a copycat D.B. Cooper hijacking – the ninth –  took a dramatic turn. Martin J. McNally   hijacked American Airlines Flight 119  bound from St. Louis to Tulsa, demanding $502,500. The money was raised and the plane landed in St. Louis for the ransom transfer. A man named David Hanley was listening  to live news reports about the hijacking and decided to take matters into his own hands. He drove to the St. Louis airport, crashed through two fences, blasted onto the tarmac, aim his car at the hijacked plane and  crashed into the 727’s fuselage. The hijacking continued on a second plane that McNally eventually jumped out of. The money and the gun were found as was McNally who was sent to prison. But the story doesn’t end there. While in prison, McNally and another hijacker, Garrett Trapnell, were part of a breakout scheme when Trapnell’s girlfriend hijacked a helicopter. The helicopter pilot grabbed the girlfriend’s gun and shot and killed her with it.

7. In 1985, TWA Flight 847 was hijacked by six members of Hezbollah. The group kept the plane for nearly two weeks, flying between Beirut and Algiers, releasing passengers at each stop. While the plane was in Beirut, the hijackers beat then shot U.S. Navy Seabee diver Robert Stethem, dumping his body on the tarmac. People with "Jewish-sounding" names were taken off the plane there and held hostage elsewhere in the city.  The plane traveled back to Algiers, released more passengers, and returned to Beirut. A photograph showing a gun being held to a pilot's head, sticking out of the cockpit window, became an iconic image  from that incident.

8. One of the most tragic  hijackings occurred on Sept. 11, 2001 when four  airplanes were hijacked by terrorists and flown into the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. On that day, nearly 3,000 people were killed  when American Airlines Flight 11, American Airlines Flight 77, United Airlines Flight 93, and United Airlines Flight 175 were commandeered by terrorists.  

Sources: Wikipedia; BBC; History.com; The Associated Press


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