Negotiations between the hijackers of a Russian aircraft and Finnish Government officials at Helsinki airport are continuing after their release of another 18 passengers.
Negotiations between the hijackers of a Russian aircraft and Finnish Government officials at Helsinki airport are continuing after their release of another 18 passengers. All but five of the ??? original 72 passengers have now been released. Two young Russians hijacked the Soviet aircraft on Sunday (10 July) and ordered it to land at Helsinki airport. Earlier reports said that the Finnish Government had supplied a light aircraft to fly the two hijackers to an unknown destination. However, later, official reports said that negotiations between the hijackers and the Government were continuing.
SYNOPSIS: The Finnish government is maintaining a heavy cordon of armed police and troops around the airport at Helsinki. The plane itself was seized by the two Russians during an internal Soviet flight from the northern town of Petrozavodsk to Leningrad. The aircraft...containing seventy two passengers...was forced to put down in Helsinki.
The Finnish authorities immediately began protracted negotiations with the hijackers who originally asked to be flown on to Sweden. However, the Swedish government refused the hijackers' request. The two then asked to be flown to any friendly western country.
Under an agreement between the Finnish government and the Soviet Union, the hijackers must be turned over to Soviet custody if they are arrested in Finland. For this reason, the hijackers are continuing to warn that they will blow up the aircraft with the remaining five hostages unless they are flown to a western nation.