The Philippine Airlines BAC-111 jet that was hijacked to Canton in the People's Republic of China, returned to Hong Kong yesterday (31 March).
SV Aircraft taxies in
SV Passengers leaving aircraft at airport bus
SV INT. Press conference
SV Passenger speaking (SOF)
TRANSCRIPT: (SEQ. 4): FEWKES: "They took the crew and they took the hijackers off the airplane and put them in a bus and took them to the terminal. Then they came back and picked up the passengers. They told us we could our hand luggage with us. They treated us very courteously and as far as I can say we were not mistreated in any way.
REPORTER: Were there six or five hijackers?
FEWKES: There were six hijackers. There were three with guns and one was armed with a pair of scissors, and I did not see any weapons on the other two.
REPORTER: Where did you spend the night?
FEWKES: We spent the part of the night in the terminal. At about twelve thirty they put us into a bus and took us to a dormitory still on the air terminal compound. They separated the two ladies and the stewardess from the men and we slept in separate rooms.
REPORTER: What was your reaction when you found you were going to Communist China?
FEWKES: Well, naturally we were all very nervous. We were afraid some of the passengers would get panicky and try something that would endanger the lives of the passengers and the crew.
REPORTER: Did they give you some literature?
FEWKES: There were many stacks of all kinds of literature, buttons, written in all kinds of languages. You could take your choice and it was given to you free.
REPORTER: Did they seem distressed that you were there at all or surprised to see you?
FEWKES: Yes, they were very surprised. They said that this was the first time it had ever happened to them in Canton. Of course, we were just as surprised as they were."
Initials SGM/2247 SGM/2200
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Philippine Airlines BAC-111 jet that was hijacked to Canton in the People's Republic of China, returned to Hong Kong yesterday (31 March). The aircraft had originally been on an internal flight from Manila to the southern city of Davao when it was hijacked by six self-styled guerrillas. Twenty of the passengers were allowed to leave the airplane when it stopped in Hong Kong for refuelling. Yesterday the Chinese allowed the aircraft, its passengers, and crew to leave Canton, but the six hijackers remained. In the first official Chinese comment on the incident, Radio Canton claimed that the aircraft had been "introduced illegally" into Chinese airspace, but it did not say that the plane had been hijacked.
Before returning to Manila, the aircraft stopped over in Hong Kong to pick up the passengers left the day before. At a press conference at Kai Tac Airport Eldred Fewkes, an American businessman living in the Philippines, told of the hijack trip to Canton: