A pilot was shot and a frustrated hi-jacker tried to kill himself on Wednesday (July 1).
A pilot was shot and a frustrated hi-jacker tried to kill himself on Wednesday (July 1). when Brazilian troops launched a spectacular assault on an airliner, rescuing the 41 people on board.
The hi-jack attempt began soon after the Caravelle of the Brazilian Cruseiro Do Sul Airline left Rio de Janeiro for Buenos Aires.
The hi-jackers ordered it back, and told the captain to refuel it for a flight to Cuba.
Air force police machine-gunned the tyres as soon as it landed and called on the hi-jackers to release the passengers and surrender. They refused, and radioed authorities the message: "We shall kill the passengers, and die ourselves, too."
Brazil's President Emilio Garrastazu Medici quickly countered. He ordered that the aircraft should not be allowed to take off; that it stay where it was until every single passenger had been rescued.
Then the Air Force troops began their rescue operation. They took up positions near the rear of the plane. A trooper climbed onto the tail of the aircraft and edged his way forward to open a roof door as fire engines directed water cannot and chemical foam along the entire length of the plane.
Smoke bombs sent a wall of billowing cloud high into the air, covering the movements of a squad of armed men who rushed forward to open emergency exits.
Minutes later passengers streamed out of the Cravelle, rushing to waiting vehicles which took them to a nearby Air Base.
The aircraft's captain was shot in the leg during the assault. One of the hi-jackers shot himself in the head. He is said to be in a condition. One of the other two hi-jackers was a woman. She appeared to be in an advanced state of pregnancy. The woman was named as Mrs Jessie Jane, the wife of an exiled terrorist.