TWA Flight 355 - Hijacking


The Boeing 727 plane took off from New York's LaGuardia Airport and was headed to O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. The hijackers were Slobodan Vlašić, Zvonko Bušić, his wife Julienne Bušić, Petar Matanić and Frane Pešut. The hijackers claimed to have a bomb as they seized control of the plane in the 95th minute of its flight; the alleged bomb on board was actually a pressure cooker.

The group redirected the plane to Montreal's Mirabel International Airport where they refueled and told officials that they had planted a bomb in a locker at Grand Central Station and gave them instructions on finding it. They demanded that an appeal to the American people concerning Croatia's independence be printed in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the International Herald Tribune. The plane was then flown to Gander, Newfoundland (now Newfoundland and Labrador), where 35 of its passengers were released. From there the plane was accompanied by a larger TWA plane which guided it to Reykjavík, Iceland. The hijacker's initial European destination was London, but the British government refused them permission to land.

During the hijacking the device at Grand Central Station was found and taken to Rodman's Neck Firing Range where police attempted to dismantle it rather than detonate it. After setting a cutting instrument on the two wires attached to the device, the officers retreated from the pit for several minutes. They then returned to the pit to continue dismantling the device when it exploded and killed an officer, Brian Murray.

The plane landed in Paris where the hijackers surrendered after direct talks with U.S. ambassador Kenneth Rush, and their supposedly explosive devices were revealed to be fakes. As the police took Julienne Bušić away, the plane's pilot gave her a hug in gratitude for her calming of the passengers during the hijacking.

Read more about this topic:  TWA Flight 355

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