Gunman Plane Hijacker Captured in Jamaica

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KINGSTON, Jamaica—A gunman who was hijacking a chartered jet near Montego Bay, Jamaica has been arrested after an eight-hour standoff with police.

Camille Tracey, a police spokeswoman, said the authorities believed this man was “mentally challenged.” Authorities reported that the 20-year-old Jamaican captured the CanJet Airlines plane late on Sunday night after forcing his way through airport security.

A Montego Bay policeman reportedly heard a gunfire around 10 p.m., which he believed was the means by which the gunman breached security. All of the passengers and two crew members were immediately let go, but the man kept six other crew members at gunpoint for several hours.

Jamaican Information Minister Daryl Vaz told CNN that the hijacker demanded to be flown to Cuba. The plane had just flown from Halifax, Nova Scotia when it arrived in Jamaica carrying 182 passengers.

The seizing of the Being 737 was assisted by the gunman’s father who aided with negotiations, Vaz reported. Vaz did not elaborate on the man’s mental condition.

Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding and his national security minister, Dwight Nelson, took charge after they arrived in Montego Bay on Monday morning.

A police office said no one had been wounded.

“Passengers were asked to give out all their money,” said Christian Gosselin, a passenger aboard the flight. They handed over their cash, as did many of the 174 passengers scheduled to be on the flight, most of whom were from the Atlantic provinces.

The passengers aboard were shaken up after their release, some unsure if they would ever fly again.

“Thank God, there are no injuries in terms of the passengers and that the hijacking is that of a mentally challenged youngster and not anything else that will be any cause of concern in terms of an international incident,” Vaz added.

“All passengers have been safely removed from the aircraft, but CanJet crew and the armed man remain on board. Our understanding is that no harm has come to anyone remaining on board and … there has been no damage to the aircraft,” the company said in a statement on its website.

“Our priority at this time is well-being of the passengers and crew who were involved in the incident,” said the company, which operates a fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft.

 

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