A Rough Day at Work For Two Hijacked Pilots

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If you think your flying job is stressful sometimes, consider the Monday morning that two Australian pilots had this week in Papua New Guinea. They were flying a chartered aircraft -- the reports don't specify what kind of airplane -- carrying $2 million in cash for a bank, with two security guards on board. The two guards, however, pointed their guns at the pilots and suggested they should change course. They landed at a neglected World War II-era airstrip on an offshore island near Port Moresby, the nation's capital, where the guards' three masked and armed accomplices were waiting. The pilots, however, apparently managed to signal air traffic controllers of their dilemma. Reports differ regarding what happened next -- it may be that the three masked men armed with shotguns stole a dinghy from island locals and headed for the coast, with the pilots on board, but were captured. But another version says the pilots were found by police, covered in mud and handcuffed to a tree. A gunfight ensued, the police killed one of the guards and recovered the money, but two of the bad guys escaped. "It is only a matter of time before the other two are captured," Police Commissioner Gari Baki told the Herald-Sun.

The U.S. State Department seems less confident of the PNG police. "Papua New Guinea, unlike the United States, does not have a tradition of strong local police authorities," notes the State Department Web site, while advising visitors that random or opportunistic crime is "common."