Jamaican hijacker storms Canadian plane for cash (Fourth Lead)

April 20th, 2009 - 9:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Kingston/Toronto, April 20 (IANS) All 174 passengers and six crew of a Canadian airliner were safe after a hijacker stormed the plane at a Jamaican airport.
CanJet Airlines flight 918, which was on its way to Cuba from Halifax (Canada), had stopped at Montego Bay in Jamaica when the gunman breached security Sunday night to board the plane 40 minutes before its departure.

The 20-year-old Jamaican hijacker with “mental issues” was arrested.

Police said he wanted money from the passengers and to be flown to Cuba.

The hijacker-hostage drama at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay came to a peaceful end after eight tense hours, the Canadian Press quoted Jamaican police as saying.

Two crew members along with the passengers bought their freedom by paying cash to the hijacker, police said.

A woman passenger confirmed that they bought their freedom from the gunman, whom she identified as “Rico” and who said he wanted to go to the US.

Reports said the gunman became agitated when police came on board and tried to negotiate with him. He ordered the pilot to take off.

Quoting another woman passenger, the Canadian news agency said a shot was fired outside the plane while the gunman demanded money from the passengers.

“That’s when we all got very, very scared and people were crying and praying and we were just really frightened for all of our lives. There were children on the plane,” reports quoted the woman passenger as saying.

“We all took our money and we just, like, left our purses and our passports and everything just in the plane because we didn’t want to take any chances. We just put the money in a bag and we ran out of the plane,” she said.

Negotiations stretched through the night with the gunman before he was arrested and the hijack drama ended.

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