September 12, 1976, Forty Years Ago: Hostages Rescued

The passengers and crew were rescued around midnight after an artful manoeuvre by Pakistani security and police personnel whose handling of a difficult situation earned them the praise and gratitude of the hostages.

Published:September 12, 2016 2:05 am

A 30-hour ordeal for 64 passengers and a crew of six of the skyjacked Indian Airlines Boeing 737 ended when they flew in to Delhi from Lahore. The passengers and crew were rescued around midnight after an artful manoeuvre by Pakistani security and police personnel whose handling of a difficult situation earned them the praise and gratitude of the hostages. After prolonged negotiations with the skyjackers, the Pakistani authorities achieved the objective by inveigling the leader of the skyjackers into leaving the plane and overpowering his five accomplices in a lightning raid by police officers, eyewitnesses said. The plane with 77 passengers on board was on a routine flight to Bombay from Delhi when it was skyjacked to Lahore. It all started five to 10 minutes after take off when a bearded man in white kurta stood up, carrying a pistol of 18th century vintage, and ordered: “Hands up, no movement.” One of the skyjackers forced the pilot into the toilet and locked him up and ordered the co-pilot at pistol point to divert the plane, a passenger, Chitra Krishnaswamy, recounted.

 

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