Air hijackings is one of the most common ways for terrorists and the other corrupted section of the society to demand a ransom from the government or just spread terror among the people and the nation. Though now air hijackings have come to a meagre standstill, hijacking air planes was one of the most easiest and convenient ways to spread terrorism among the people of a nation, or risking the lives of those hundreds of passengers captured in the air plane Due to the luxury categorisation of air planes as a means of transport has enabled terrorists to get indulged into this activity of air plane hijackings and thus end up risking the lives of a lot of passengers and also accomplish their motive or goal of spreading terror among the people. History has seen some of the most deadliest and dangerous air plane hijackings in different parts of the world. Here is a list of some of the biggest and terrorising air hijackings done till date.
10. Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961
Way back in the year of 1996 and dated November 23rd, three Ethiopians had hijacked this plane in order to threaten the government authorities for a huge ransom. While their flight across the Indian Ocean, the fuel had almost dropped off in the flight alerting the pilot for an emergency landing. But on the three hijackers refusing to make an emergency landing, the flight could not sustain any longer and went crashing down the Indian Ocean, making it one of the deadliest air hijacking in the world after the September 2011 attacks. Many passengers in that airline lost their lives but fortunately a handful of people were saved by the water divers in the ocean.
9. Iraqi Airways Flight 163
This incident took place in the year 1986, when air plane hijacking was becoming pretty common in the Middle East in the 1980’s. Air safety was one of the most important concerns for all the countries existing in the Middle East as it was the centre for terror attacks. The air safety came to a standstill when the Iraqi Airways Flight 163, travelling from Baghdad to Amman with about 90 passengers and almost 15 crew members was hijacked and controlled by four Hezbollah men. The air safety and security personnel on trying to peacefully and harmoniously negotiate with the four hijackers were found to be at a loss as the hijackers were demanding and they instantly started blowing up the cabin of the flight with grenades and detonating the cockpit. The airline finally crashed and destroyed near Arar, Saudi Arabia.
8. Pan Am Flight 73
Just before taking off Karachi to travel Frankfurt, four members of the terrorist group Abu Nidal Organization hijacked the Pan Am airlines in the year 1986. They dressed up as Karachi security guards and hijacked the airline travelling to Frankfurt. Meanwhile, the crew of this airline managed to sneak out and ground the airlines through an overheard hatch in the cockpit area. When the hijackers demand for the crew to be back in the airlines failed and were not met, the hijackers shot dead an Indian American out of rage and fury. Eventually as the airline was stranded in the dark, random shooting began and grenade explosions were being experienced. In this situation, a lot of them were rescued but unfortunately more than 20 passengers were killed in the hijacking attack.
7. Egypt Air Flight 648
The hijacking activity which took place on the Egypt Air Flight 648 in the year of 1985 remains one of the most brutal and fatal air plane hijacking scenes till today. This airline while travelling on its way from Athens to Cairo was hijacked and captured by three Palestinian men of the Abu Nidal organisation. When an Egyptian Security personnel shot down one of the three hijackers, an exchange of bullets between the security personnel and the hijackers began, thus leading to the puncture of the fuselage of the plane. Due to the claustrophobic situation inside the air plane, the passengers were unable to breathe and thus the pilot had to descend the air plane in order to allow the passengers to breathe freely. Also being very low on fuel at that time, the airline had to land at Malta, very much against the wishes of the Maltese authorities. There was again a scene of the exchange of bullets and grenade bombs, leading to a storming explosion of the Egypt Air Flight 648, leading to more than 60 people being killed.
6. Air India Flight 182
This flight was travelling from Canada to India on the 23 June 1985. While this airline was flying over the Atlantic Ocean, the air plane got blown up by a secretly planted bomb in the airline, leading to the flight go straight crashing into the Atlantic Ocean. This incident remains one of the most impactful an d dangerous air plane hijacking in the Canadian history as a totally number of 329 people were killed, all the passengers comprising of 280 Canadians, 22 Indians and about 27 British population. When this air hijack took place, not much was known of the reason and cause behind this accident. But after almost 20 years of investigation, it was apparently claimed that this hijack terrorism was done by a Sikh group staying in Canada.
5. Malaysian Airlines Flight 653
This remains one of the most mysterious and unanswerable air hijackings in the world. The Malaysian Airlines Flight 653, right after taking off from Penang to reach Kuala Lumpur reported as an unidentified hijacker amongst the passengers, and after a few moments this airline started heading towards Singapore. Gradually all communication between the crew members and the Air Safety personnel was lost, leading to the Airline crashing in Kampong Ladang, Tanjong Kupang. This incident saw the death of more than 90 passengers and crew members. The verified reason of this hijack was never known, though some believe that some members of the Japanese Red Army were behind this explosion.
4. Lufthansa Flight 181
Scheduled to travel from Palma De Mallorca to Frankfurt, this Lufthansa airlines carried about 86 passengers and five crew members. This airline was hijacked in the year 1977 by four militant Palestinians, who were a part of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. They called their group as the ‘Commando Martyr Halime’. One of the men entered the cockpit and threatened the pilot with a pistol to direct the flight to Cyprus. In this way, after travelling to Cyprus, Bahrain, Dubai and Aden, this airline was finally taken into hostile and raided, which saw the death of two of the hijackers and injuring the others, fortunately not killing the passengers aboard in that airline.
3. Air France Flight 139
The hijacking of the Air France Flight in the year 1976 is deeply related to the historical Operation Entebbe. En route from Athens to Paris, this airline was hijacked by two people of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and two others from the German Revolutionary Cells. The airline was filled with almost 250 passengers and 12 crew members, which was later then directed to Entebbe Airport, Uganda. On reaching there, four more hijackers joined the session, demanding the release of the 40 Palestinians detained in Israel, leading to Operation Entebbe when a number of Israel soldiers reached the site and ended up blowing the scene with explosions and gunfire shots, leading to the death of Ugandan soldiers, three passengers and an Israeli commando.
2. Dawson’s Field Hijackings
This hijacking incident which took place in the year 1970 led to the historical event known as Black September. In a single day, four air planes were hijacked by the members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. All the 300 passengers travelling the airline were released, except for the Jewish passengers and the flight crew members. The members of the PFLP blew up the empty airlines, demanding the release of Patrick Arguello and the detained Leila Khalid. Both of these were claimed to be working behind the attempt to hijack El Al Flight 219, and failed to do so and were captured. Thought the conditions of the PFLP were met, it gave rise to a new and fresh conflict between the Jordanians and the Palestinians.
1. El Al Flight 426
In the year of 1968 when this airline was travelling from London to Rome, it was captured by three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the airline was diverted to Algiers. On reaching there, all the non-Israeli passengers were released and it took almost about 40 days of negotiation to reach a proper decisive agreement in relation to this conflict. During that time, the El Al Flight 426 was the centre and the main hot spot for air hijacking by the terrorist groups. Since then, strict measure and rules have been applied keeping this airline’s safety and security issues on mind. Today, through measure of strict safety guidelines, this airline is one of the safest around.