Hostages Freed In Jamaican Standoff
A 20-year-old Jamaican, described by authorities as a "mentally challenged youngster" was nabbed by police early Monday after he took six members of the flight crew of a CanJet Boeing 737 hostage late Sunday in Montego Bay and demanded to be flown to Cuba. None of the hostages were hurt when police stormed the aircraft after eight hours of negotiations broke down, but early in the drama it's alleged that the hijacker almost killed the First Officer, whose face was grazed by a bullet when a gun discharged on the tarmac. Oddly enough, if the hijacker had a ticket, he would have gone to Cuba as the charter flight was scheduled to stop in Santa Clara, Cuba on its way to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The man barged through security guards, all of whom were unarmed, and briefly held some of more than 180 passengers and crew but he quickly set the passengers and two of the crew free after they gave him money. The freed hostages, all Canadian, were taken to local hotels.
The man's father is reportedly helping authorities negotiate with his son. There are also unconfirmed reports the hijacker may have been an airport worker. The flight left Halifax at 7:15 p.m. Sunday and was to depart Montego Bay for Santa Clara later that night. The man forced his way past security about 10 p.m., 40 minutes before the scheduled departure, and many of the passengers hadn't boarded yet. An unknown number were held briefly. Jamaican authorities are sorting out the paperwork for those whose travel documents were left on the aircraft and a new aircraft will be dispatched to pick up the stranded passengers in Cuba and Jamaica when the airport reopens.