A gunman boarded a CanJet Airlines plane at Montego Bay demanding to be flown to Cuba.The drama started late Sunday night when what has been described as an “mentally challenged” 20-year-old Jamaican took the plane hostage.
Jamaican authorities stormed the plane and rescued the six crew members taken hostage after negotiations with the gunman were unsuccessful. The crew was not injured.
The New York Post reports:
“We are relieved that all the passengers involved in this incident are safe,” CanJet Vice President Kent Woodside said.
Passengers were debriefed by the police after they were released. The released passengers were taken to a hotel and CanJet is planning on flying those passengers home on another aircraft.
The incident started around 10 p.m. Sunday, local time.
As the AP reports:
“It’s a most unfortunate situation, but I can say the passengers are happy to be alive,” Jamaican Information Minister Daryl Vaz said. “This whole experience has been very traumatic for them.”
CanJet Flight 918 was a Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
“The hijacking is that from a mentally challenged youngster and not anything that would be of concern in terms of an international incident,” said Jamaica’s Information Minister Daryl Vaz.. “His demand was to go to Cuba,” he said.
All of the passengers are Canadian. There were 174 passengers scheduled to be on the flight but some had not boarded by the time of the hijacking.
The flight originated in Halifax, Canada. When it landed on a scheduled stop in Montego Bay, the gunman fired a shot on the boarding bridge as he entered the plane. He got on board as airport workers were loading luggage onto the aircraft. Passengers are reporting that the man asked passengers for all of their money.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Jamaica for a one-day visit. He was monitoring the story and offered his plane up to Canadians who wanted to get back home.