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October 14, 2009

Luis Soltren surrenders in 1968 hijacking of Pan Am 281

Filed under: Aircraft hijackings,Crime and law,Cuba,New York,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Luis Soltren surrenders in 1968 hijacking of Pan Am 281

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

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Luis Armando Peña Soltren surrendered to United States law enforcement at 1:30 Sunday, at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

John F. Kennedy International Airport, aerial view (1994)
Image: USGS.

Soltren had arrived on a flight from Havana, Cuba, where authorities say he has resided 41 years to avoid prosecution. Soltren is charged with air piracy and kidnapping, for allegedly participating in the November 24, 1968 hijacking of Pan Am Flight 281, which took off from JFK.

Cquote1.svg [Soltren] will finally face the American justice system that he has been evading for more than four decades. Cquote2.svg

—United States Attorney Preet Bharara

According to the December 1968 indictment against him, by then-United States Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau, Soltren conspired in the hijacking with Jose Rafael Rios Cruz, Miguel Castro and Alejandro Figueroa. Soltren, Cruz, and Castro seized control of the flight, originally destined for Puerto Rico, using guns and knives they had smuggled in a diaper bag. They forced the pilot to land at Havana instead. Such hijackings were frequent at the time, with 30 successful or attempted diversions to Cuba in 1968.

Cruz and Castro pled guilty in the 1970’s, and received 15 and 12-year sentences, respectively. Figueroa was acquitted in 1969.

United States Attorney Preet Bharara announced that Soltren would “finally face the American justice system that he has been evading for more than four decades.” Soltren reportedly arranged his return because he wanted to visit his wife, who lives in either Florida or Puerto Rico. He is expected to be arraigned Tuesday.

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September 9, 2009

Suspect arrested after hijacking Mexican airliner

Suspect arrested after hijacking Mexican airliner

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

File photo of an Aeroméxico, Boeing 737.
Image: Makaristos.

The Mexican government has said that an Aeroméxico Boeing-737, flight 576 from Cancun, was hijacked and landed safely at Mexico City International Airport in Mexico City.

The plane was traveling from Cancun to Mexico City. The situation ended without incident and all passengers and crew on board the aircraft were able to leave safely. All hijackers were arrested after Mexican security forces boarded the plane.

The incident began just after 1:30 p.m. (CDT) one man took control of the plane and demanded to speak to Felipe Calderon, Mexico’s president. The hijacker said that if his demand was not met, he would blow up the plane. Earlier reports had stated there were explosives on board the aircraft, but none were found. Five people were initially detained without incident.

A short time later, four of the detained men were released without being charged. Authorities identified the sole hijacker as Jose Mar Flores, 44, who is being described as an alcoholic, drug addicted, religious fanatic. He claims he was on a mission to warn Mexico that an earthquake was going to strike the country. Flores said that the significance of the date, 9/9/09, the reverse of 666, was the reason why he hijacked the plane. Reports say he was carrying a box that he described as a bomb and would detonate it if his demand to speak to Calderon about the quake was not met.

104 people were on board the plane, but all passengers and crew aboard the aircraft have left it safely. The airport remained open while the plane was dealt with on an emergency runway.

Calderon was inside the airport’s presidential hanger waiting to depart when the plane landed. His flight was canceled.



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August 9, 2009

No bomb threat, hijacking of plane in China\’s Xinjiang region according to Afghan officials

No bomb threat, hijacking of plane in China’s Xinjiang region according to Afghan officials

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

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China’s Xinjiang region

A Kam Air plane from Afghanistan, traveling in China’s Xinjiang region was not hijacked and did not receive a bomb threat, according to Afghan officials.

Earlier the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported a plane to be hijacked. Later reports then stated the plane received a bomb threat and was diverted back to Afghanistan, landing in Kandahar. The early reports say the plane was diverted back to Afghanistan after being denied an emergency landing in Ürümqi.

The plane was traveling to China and had been ordered to turn around after the proper paperwork was not in place. Subsequently it was denied a landing in Ürümqi. Upon its return, the plane landed in Kabul after it encountered high winds. It is not known how many people were on board the plane, but no injuries are reported.

A NATO official denied there was an emergency landing due to a threat and says the Chinese media reports are untrue.

“We are aware of the reports. We have no evidence that this is true. We would know immediately,” said the unnamed official.

The Xinjiang region was the scene of a violent uprising by its Uyghur population last month.



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April 20, 2009

CanJet Flight 918 hijacked

CanJet Flight 918 hijacked – Wikinews, the free news source

CanJet Flight 918 hijacked

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Monday, April 20, 2009

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CanJet Flight 918 was hijacked on 19 April 2009, at approximately 22:30 local time at Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The hijacking was executed by a single armed gunman, who later released all of the passengers and two of the crew, keeping six crew members hostage, according to a press statement by CanJet.

The man broke through security and boarded before the plane was scheduled to leave. There are contradictory statements on the number of passengers on board when the man forced his way onto the plane. According to the BBC, there were more than 150, while CBC states that “Most of the (…) passengers had not yet boarded the flight”. The hijacker apparently demanded passage to Cuba.

The plane was stormed by Jamaican police in the morning of the 20th of April, who succeeded in taking the hijacker into custody and freeing the captives.

The flight had started from Halifax International Airport, in Nova Scotia, Canada, at 7:15pm local time. It was stopping in Montego Bay and was scheduled to continue to Santa Clara in Cuba. The airplane in use is a Boeing 737-800.



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March 21, 2009

New Zealand pilots receive bravery awards for foiling airliner hijack

New Zealand pilots receive bravery awards for foiling airliner hijack

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

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The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) has awarded two New Zealand pilots with the Polaris Award for their bravery in landing their plane during an attempted hijacking and then confronting the alleged hijacker.

Pilot Dion McMillan and co-pilot Ross Haverfield were given the awards at an IFALPA conference in Auckland today. They were flying over New Zealand’s South Island in February 2008 when the incident took place. A woman armed with a knife said she had two bombs in her luggage and told them to fly to Australia.

McMillan issued a mayday call advising air traffic control of the situation and the pilots performed an emergency landing at Christchurch International Airport. McMillan and Haverfield then waited until the passengers had disembarked before confronting the woman, who had already stabbed one passenger.

A fight broke out in which Haverfield was stabbed in the foot and McMillan’s hand was stabbed so badly he was off work for several months. Asha Ali Abdille, a 33-year-old Somali woman living in New Zealand, was subsequently arrested. Her trial is pending and will begin in September.

McMillan accepted Haverfield’s award on his behalf, the co-pilot not attending the black tie dinner at Auckland’s SkyCity Convention Centre, which was put on as part of an IFALPA convention lasting a week. He could say very little about the event due to the pending court action, but he did say of his hand “The movement’s good but there’s still not much feeling left.”



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  • “Woman attacks aircraft pilots in New Zealand hijacking attempt” — Wikinews, February 8, 2008

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February 3, 2009

Man arrested in India after mid-air hijack threat on domestic flight

Man arrested in India after mid-air hijack threat on domestic flight

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Shown here is an IndiGo A320, similar to the one involved.
Image: Kprateek88.

An Indian man has been arrested after threatening to hijack the domestic flight on which he was traveling on Sunday February 1. The flight was traveling between New Delhi and Goa in India. The IndiGo Airlines Airbus A320 was coming in to land at the time.

Jitendra Kumar has been charged with criminal intimidation and endangering life and personal safety. Another man and a woman were also detained but not charged. The jet moved to a quiet area of Gandhi International Airport where armed security forces surrounded it, arresting Kumar, who was unarmed.

The jet was carrying 160 people when Kumar, who stood up and refused to sit down when asked by flight attendants. He instead threatened to blow the aircraft up. It was suspected he may be drunk, but he was instead found to have low blood pressure. The other two were arrested as they had been seen speaking to Kumar earlier.

All passengers disembarked safely after about three hours. If convicted, Kumar faces up to seven years in prison. Indian airports and security remain on high alert after terrorist attacks in Mumbai saw gunmen kill 164 people on November 26.



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March 9, 2008

China kills suspected terrorists, prevents \’air disaster\’

China kills suspected terrorists, prevents ‘air disaster’

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

At the National Musuem of China in Tiananmen Square, a clock counts down the time until the 2008 Olympics begin.

In two separate cases, Chinese police have captured and killed suspected terrorists apparently targeting the 2008 Summer Olympics, and an airplane crew thwarted what appeared to be a planned hijacking, top officials said at a parliament session Sunday.

The suspect terrorist gang was found on January 27 in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang region in northwest China. Two were killed and fifteen others were arrested. Police seized axes, knives, grenades, and “books about terrorism”.

“Obviously, the gang had planned an attack targeting the Olympics,” said Wang Lequan, Xinjiang’s Communist Party chief. “The Olympic Games slated for this August is a big event, but there are always a few people who conspire to commit sabotage. It is no longer a secret now.”

The gang was said to have collaborated with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a separatist movement labeled a terrorist organization by the United Nations. “Those terrorists, saboteurs and secessionists are to be battered resolutely, no matter what ethnic group they are from,” said Wang.

Xinjiang is home to a many ethnic Turkic groups, the largest of which are the Uyghur. Nur Bekri, chairman of the Xinjiang government and himself an Uyghur, says only a very small minority support the views of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. “They don’t represent the Uighur people,” he said.

In another incident, an airplane destined for Beijing was forced to land early after “some people were attempting to create an air disaster,” said Nur Bekri, chairman of the Xinjiang government.

The plane took off from Urumqi on Friday and landed in Lanzhou, capital of the neighboring Gansu province. The flight crew stopped the alleged attackers, and all passengers and crew are reported to be safe. The plane finally arrived in Beijing Saturday morning.

“Fortunately our air crew took resolute measures, discovered and put a stop to this action promptly. All the passengers, crew and the aircraft are safe,” Bekri said.

No further details were made available. The suspects are in custody, as police try to find out “who the people involved in the incident were, where they were from, what their aim was and what their background was”, Bekri said. An airline official did not confirm whether the incident was a terrorist attack, saying “it’s up to the police department to verify.” However, Bekri believes “we can be sure that this was a case intending to create an air crash.”

An anonymous source told Reuters that flammable material was found in the plane’s toilet, and that at least 2 passengers on the flight have been taken into custody for questioning.



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September 18, 2007

Germany\’s minister of defence proposes to shoot down hijacked planes

Germany’s minister of defence proposes to shoot down hijacked planes

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Franz-Josef Jung.
Image: de.w:98102..

Germany’s minister of defence, Franz-Josef Jung (CDU), has proposed to shoot down planes hijacked by terrorists.

Although the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany decided in February 2006 that shooting down a hijacked plane would only be lawful if there were no innocent passengers on the plane, Jung announced in public that he would give the order to attack if the basic principles of the constitution were in danger or if the plane posed a tremendous threat to the people. Representatives of the grand coalition differed in their views regarding this question. A member of the Social Democrat Party disagreed with Jung and advised him against contradicting the court’s judgment. The opposition in parliament even called Jung an “enemy of the constitution” and called for him to resign.

Jung was supported by members of his own party which underlined the necessity of shooting down a hijacked plane in order to save thousands of lives. The dispute between the two coalition partners concerning new laws to ensure the security of Germany remains unresolved.

The pilots of the German airforce have made it clear that they won’t bring down a hijacked plane due to fundamental legal and moral doubts.

In the United States and other European countries such as France, Great Britain or the Czech Republic laws were passed which give the government permission to shoot down a passenger plane under the control of terrorists.



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August 18, 2007

Plane flying from Cyprus to Istanbul, Turkey hijacked

Plane flying from Cyprus to Istanbul, Turkey hijacked

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Bombardier CRJ-900 operated by Atlastjet Airlines and traveling from Lefkosa (Nicosia), Cyprus to Istanbul, has been hijacked by two men claiming to be al-Qaeda terrorists with bombs.

According to reports, the plane landed at an airport in Antalya, Turkey. At least 136 passengers and six crew members were on the plane, but most reportedly escaped. The hijackers were releasing women from the front of the plane, when most of the passengers and crew escaped through the back. Two crewmembers and four passengers remain on the plane, Tuncay Doganer, president of Atlasjet, said. Doganer said that the hijackers spoke Arabic among themselves, and the AP is reporting that the they are university students from Iran.

The hijackers requested the plane land in Tehran, Iran or Syria. Pilots landed the plane for refueling, but reports say that the pilots were among those who have been released or escaped.

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May 4, 2007

Fugitive Cuban soldiers in failed skyjacking

Fugitive Cuban soldiers in failed skyjacking

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Friday, May 4, 2007

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Two Cuban military deserters made a failed attempt to skyjack a Spanish Hola Airlines Boeing 737, leased by Cubana Airlines and headed for Venezuela. An unarmed military officer was killed in the process.

The two soldiers, Leandro Cerezo Sirut and Alain Forbus Lameru, both 19 years old, took over a local bus and then drove it to the airport and onto the tarmac in an attempt to hijack a plane. Once on the plane, they attempted to take the officer hostage and when they tried to do so, the officer fought back and foiled the hijacking. The soldiers were attempting to flee Cuba and head for the United States.

A statement by Cuba’s Interior Ministry praised the officer’s action: “Despite being unarmed, he heroically tried to prevent the commission of the terrorist act. Effective and coordinated action allowed security forces to frustrate the kidnappers’ plans and save the lives of the other hostages,” and also blamed the U.S. for the hijacking attempt.

“The responsibility for these new crimes lies with the highest-ranking authorities of the United States, adding to the long list of terrorist acts that Cuba has been the victim of for nearly half a century,” added the statement.

Both of the soldiers, along with a third soldier, Yoan Torres Martinez, 21, were arrested. All three are believed to have escaped from the military base, causing a shootout which killed one soldier and injured at least one other, in which they were stationed.

Several passengers were on the bus, but no one was hurt. There were no crew or additional passengers on the plane at the time it was boarded.

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