Passengers from a Colombian airliner which was hijacked on Thursday (11 May) on a domestic flight have returned to Bogota after being held hostage in Willemstad on the Dutch Caribbean Island of Curacao.
Passengers from a Colombian airliner which was hijacked on Thursday (11 May) on a domestic flight have returned to Bogota after being held hostage in Willemstad on the Dutch Caribbean Island of Curacao. The ordeal for the 119 crew and passengers ended when police stormed the jet and fought a brief gun battle with the three hi-jackets.
SYNOPSIS: There was a large crowd of friends and relatives to meet the passengers hen they arrived back at the E1 Dorado airport in Bogota on Friday (12 May). Police at Curacao said two 19-year-old hi-jackers were being held and a third sought among the passengers of the Colombian domestic flight hi-jacked to the Dutch Antilles Island.
The Avianca Boeing 727 was commandeered, after a refuelling stop in Cali, where three passengers were released. It was ordered to the neighbouring Dutch Island of Aruba, in the Caribbean off Venezuela, where a further 31 passengers managed to escape. The freed hostages spoke freely with newsmen about their ordeal. They said one hijacker, identified only as a Colombian, had demanded enough fuel t get to Cuba. Aruban officials agreed only to provide food and drink which was collected at the bottom of the aircraft's steps by the flight engineer.
Cesar Salazar, a passenger, confirmed the flight engineer was shot in the leg on his final trip to collect ice. He is now in hospital with minor injuries. The plane was then ordered to Curacao where the hijacker again demanded fuel to get to Cuba.
Officials had insisted that he first release the women and children on board and during the negotiations two passengers including Salazar, over-powered him. The pilot immediately ordered the passengers to evacuate the plane and called police who stormed the plane.
Official reports said two policemen and at least one other person were hurt in a brief gun battle, but none seriously. The Curacao government says the hijackers will not be extradited and will tried on the island.