A Boeing 727 with 161 people on board, landed at Luqa airport, near Valetta, on February 20, after being hijacked during a routine internal flight in Libya.
GV: Plane on tarmac at Luqa airport. Dom Mintoff, Maltese Prime Minister, speaks (SOT)
SCU PAN: Radar tower to plane on tarmac as ambulance stands by. Mintoff and spokesman on plane speak by radio (SOT) (3 shots)
GV: Control 'tower and soldiers standing outside. Mintoff and spokesman speak (SOT)
GV PAN: Car drives round airfield perimeter. Mintoff and spokesman speak (SOT)
GV PAN: Aircraft on tarmac. Mintoff speaks (SOT)
GV: Radar tower and airport buildings. Terrorist speaks (SOT) (2 shots)
LV: Truck on tarmac, seen through perimeter fence (2 shots) Mintoff speaks (SOT)
GV: Control tower. Mintoff speaks (SOT)
GV: Aircraft. Mintoff speaks (SOT)
GV AND SV: Car drives along tarmac towards control tower Terrorist speaks (SOT) (2 shots)
GV PAN: Aircraft on runway. Negotiator and terrorist speak (SOT)
TRANSCRIPT: MINTOFF: "This is Dom Mintoff speaking. In trying to save your lives, you must do what I say, not what you say."
SPOKESMAN: "They don't request anything from Malta."
MINTOFF: "Look, we are now told you are not requesting anything but fuel. But there is no point in giving them fuel if we don't know where they are going and that they are going to be safe where they're going."
SPOKESMAN: "If you promise to give us enough fuel, the hijacker said if you promise to give us fuel, they will decide, they will tell you where they decided to go. Thank you."
MINTOFF: "I am not a little boy. I don't give promises in vain. I want to know to whom I am speaking before I give any promises."
SPOKESMAN: "Well, eh, it's the captain speaking here. I convey to what they say and to what you say to them."
TERRORIST: "By the needs of the children we have and the women and babies, and people we have on board and you have to know we have 161 on board, the safety of their lives please we request fuel."
SPOKESMAN: ".... and the hijackers request.
NEGOTIATOR: "Unless the hijackers tell us where you intend to go, we cannot help you."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A Boeing 727 with 161 people on board, landed at Luqa airport, near Valetta, on February 20, after being hijacked during a routine internal flight in Libya. The aircraft touched down without permission and rescue and security forces were put on immediate alert. All exits were blocked and military vehicles sealed perimeter tracks to prevent the plane taking off. The identity of the hijackers is not known but most of the passengers are believed to be Libyans.
Malta's Prime Minister, Mr. Dom Mintoff, took a personal hand in negotiations with the hijackers after being told the pilot's radio batteries were running low. He said the terrorists had to do what he told them, and that if they wanted fuel, they would first have to tell him where they intended going.
The pilot, acting as an interpreter for the hijackers, said they would tell him what their intended destination was once the plane had been refuelled. Mr. Mintoff demanded to know who was responsible for the hijacking before he agreed to any conditions. The airport, temporarily closed after the plane landed, was re-opened within 24 hours for scheduled flights.
The last Libyan Airlines plane to be hijacked was in December 1981, which ended in Teheran when the terrorists surrendered.