Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Hijacking drama on Aeroméxico Boeing 737 ends safely in Mexico City

Aeroméxico logoThe attempted hijacking earlier today of an Aeroméxico Boeing 737-800 ended safely in Mexico City. The drama began shortly after Aeroméxico Flight AM 576 departed from Cancún en route to Mexico City. The hijackers, who were among the 100-plus passengers on the flight, claimed to have a bomb. News reports say the men threatened to blow up the plane unless they were allowed to speak to Mexico's president, Felipe Caldéron.

The hijackers never gained access to the flight deck. The aircraft continued on to Mexico City, where it landed safely and parked at a remote area of the airport. Passengers were allowed to deplane, although the crew were believed to have been held on board at first. Federal police and soldiers reportedly boarded the plane after the passengers had been released and took a number of men into custody.

There is still some confusion as to the exact number and nationality of purported hijackers -- various news media report as few as three and as many as nine. In any case, no explosive device was found on the aircraft, according to Mexico's Transport Minister Juan Molinar.

UPDATE: According to the Bloomberg news service, there was only one hijacker -- a Bolivian man identified by authorities as identified as Jose Marc Flores Pereira -- who said he was inspired by “divine revelation.” Flores reportedly told Mexican authorities that he "took action because today’s date, Sept. 9, 2009, represented an upside-down 666."


Bloomberg reports:
Flores threatened the crew from Aeromexico flight 576 with a fake bomb about an hour after takeoff from Cancun, [Public Safety Minister] Garcia Luna said. The pilot informed authorities and later acted as interlocutor between Flores and authorities once the plane landed in Mexico City at about 1:40 p.m. local time
At least six other passengers had been removed from the plane in handcuffs, but police later concluded that they were not involved in the hijacking plot.