The West German hijack drama is over. It began on Thursday (13 October) when four?
The West German hijack drama is over. It began on Thursday (13 October) when four guerrillas seized a Lufthansa Boeing 737 on a flight from Majorca back to Frankfurt carrying ??? passengers -- mostly holidaymakers. It ended in Somalia in the early hours of Tuesday morning (18 October) with a daring commando raid that succeeded in freeing the hostages almost unharmed. The price -- the deaths of three guerrillas.
SYNOPSIS: The lone hostage casualty in the drama which spread over six days and six destinations across Europe and the Middle East was the Captain of the hijacked airliner, Juergen Schumann. He was shot and killed on the last flight, from Aden to Magadishu, and his body unceremoniously thrown on the tarmac for collection by ambulance.
The West German Commando raiders released the hostages with only ??? minutes left of a guerrilla deadline to blow up the aircraft.
On the scene -- West German government envoy juergen Wischnewski, who had been negotiating with the guerrillas.
Back in Germany -- another drama. Within hours of the raid, three of the Baader-Meinhof gang whose release was demanded as ransom by the guerrillas committed suicide, according tot he government. A fourth was rushed to hospital by helicopter after attempting to kill herself -- but her condition was said to be 'not critical'. She is Irmgard Moeller, who tried to stab herself to death. Two colleagues -- gang leader Andreas Baader among them -- were said to have shot themselves in the head. Another girl hung herself.
Home again -- chief negotiator Herr Wischnewski arrived to a well deserved welcome. He had followed the hijackers throughout their desperate flight to seek a refuge, while they bargained for the release of 13 imprisoned fellow-guerrillas and a multi-million-dollar ransom.
During his negotiations with them, the guerrillas delayed their death-threat deadlines several times.
Not far away in Frankfurt--their original destination six long days earlier -- 80 of the freed hostages arrived back to an emotional welcome from hundreds of relatives, friends, and sightseers. Also waiting to applaud them were four government ministers. The remaining hostages stayed behind in Mogadishu to receive medical treatment for shock and minor injuries sustained during the freedom raid. Among the passengers were 11 beauty queens, who had won holidays in Majorca as part of their competition prizes, and an injured air hostess. She'd been hit in the foot by a ??? bullet during the commando raid.
A special welcome for the flight crew. who put the aircraft down safely after Captain Schumann's death.
But the real heroes of the drama were perhaps the squad of commandos -- about ??? of them -- who rescued the hostages in the daring midnight raid. It involved blowing off the aircraft doors with plastic explosives and in a six-minute operation, they then ??? and ??? the guerrillas with special grenades. They shot three of them fatally, wounded the fourth, and at the same time prevented them from either shooting the passengers or setting off their pre-set bombs -- all without losing a single passengers's life.