- Politics and Social Issues»
- Environment & Green Issues»
- Disasters & Recovery
Can You Survive A Plane Hijack?
Flight 2505 of the Chinese CAAC Departed
In July 1982 nineteen tourists boarded a vintage turboprop plane at a small airport outside Xi’an, eastern China. The airport did not have x-ray cameras or metal detectors. Flight 2505 of the Chinese airline CAAC took off with 72 passengers. The American tourists all knew each other. They were all retired and on a sightseeing trip.
Ronald, the organizer of the tour, sat with his group near the back of the main cabin. The plane was nearly full with Chinese, Japanese and the American passengers. There was a crew of eight on board, which included the pilot and his crew, and the air hostess.
One Hijacker Held A Knife Against The Pilot
It was nearly 10.00am when the plane approached Shanghai. The Americans got the shock of their lives when the peace was suddenly disturbed by Chinese and Japanese passengers who came running down the aisle. They shouted that there were men fighting with knives. The terrified Chinese and Japanese passengers had been seated in the front of the plane when the fighting began. Two men with long knives drove them to the back of the plane. They all crowded in the narrow aisle at the rear, where the Americans were seated.
Ronald could see that two more men were threatening the pilot and crew. One had a knife pointed against the pilot’s throat. The hijackers demanded to go to Hong Kong, refuel, then they wanted to go to Taiwan for liberation.
A Hijacker Took Out A Stick Of Dynamite
The plane shuddered in the turbulence. Ronald realized that the pilot was flying into the clouds and rough air and causing the turbulence. It was also making the hijackers unsteady on their feet. Stephen, who was used to working with criminals at the Youth Correctional Institution in New Jersey, watched the hijackers and was sure that they were close to breaking point. Then a hijacker took a stick of dynamite and placed it in the toilet with the fuse visible under the door.
The hijackers were not aware that the pilot had been circling all the time and that he had already brought the plane down to approximately 1500 meters. They had been circling and flying into clouds for nearly one hour. The crew had turned off the air conditioning, to make it more uncomfortable for the hijackers. The interior of the plane was soon very warm.
Then The Bomb Exploded
The Americans were amazed when they heard a noise and turning around saw the two crewmen who had been escorted to the back, charge down the aisle each with mop handles. Behind them came a row of passengers letting out war shouts and waving bottles.
Ronald stood up and shouted that they must stop because there was a bomb. But then a Japanese man shouted that the plane was out of fuel. And then the bomb exploded blowing out the walls of the toilet and some seats. The large hole in the side of the plane and the noise of the bomb distracted the hijackers. The crew members and passengers took the opportunity and attacked them and they were soon overpowered and unconscious.
The Plane Was Out Of Control
But the plane was now out of control. While the Americans were sure they were drawing their last breath, the pilot got back control of the plane.
The plane touched down blowing out the front tires. Trucks filled with soldiers were standing on the airstrip and ambulances were following alongside the plane. Finally the damaged plane came to a standstill. Armed men came running and jumped on board. They returned with the unconscious hijackers.
The pilot and crew stood at the stairs as the passengers disembarked. When Ronald came to the pilot, he gave him a bear hug. Everybody was emotional after their narrow escape. The Captain and his crew were awarded medals for their bravery. After a two-day trial the five hijackers were executed.
© 2017 Anita Hasch