Hijack of passenger aircrafts has seen a plunge in the last decade with the expansion of air travel. The hijackers, normally, take over the aircraft to use its passengers as the bargaining chips and get their demands fulfilled in exchange of setting hostages free.
The hijackers mostly belong to specific organizations running guerrilla campaigns against some countries and usually demand for the release of their fellow members who are behind the bars.
However, there are some cases in the history where planes have been hijacked for the weirdest reasons – fatal or silly.
The incident of the hijack of EgyptAir’s flight to Cyprus today morning is also believed to be for a similar reason. While the safety of the passengers and crew still in captivity remains to be ensured, it turns out that the hijacker wanted to get in touch with his ex-wife. However, he is also believed to have sought political asylum in the island country.
Here are five such incidents where hijackers had unbelievable reasons behind taking over the passenger aircrafts:
1. More Beer
On June 21, 1985, a lone man hijacked a Braathens SAFE Boeing 737 aircraft carrying 116 passengers and five crew members. Fed up with society, he demanded to speak to with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice of Norway.
He was drinking heavily during the entire episode and surrendered his pistol to authorities one hour later in exchange for more beer. It was the first hijack in the history of Norway. No shots were fired and there was no casualty.
2. To use the plane as missile to blast WTO and White House
In the worst and arguably the most blatant disregard for human life, 19 al-Qaeda Islamic extremists hijacked American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 77, and United Airlines Flight 93 and crashed them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001.
Though, its intended target was either the White House or the U.S. Capitol. Around 2,996 people lost their lives while 6,000 others were injured in this deadly terror attack. The attack has had serious ramifications across the world and will be remembered as a desperate act of cowardice for a long time to come.
3. $200,000 ransom
In 1971 - A man known only by the alias D. B. Cooper is credited with inspiring both copycat crimes and winning enduring infamy by hijacking an airplane and collecting $200,000 in ransom money and a parachute before jumping.
It is the only unsolved airline hijacking case in the history of the U.S. The man has never been identified.
4. Third secret of Fatima
A 55-year-old Australian named Laurence James Downey hijacked the Aer Lingus Flight 164 on May 2, 1981, with the help of a cigarette lighter.
All that he demanded was that Pope John Paul II should release the third secret of Fatima. After a 10-hour standoff, he was apprehend by French police and was later sentenced to five years imprisonment. No casualties were reported in the hijack.
5. Speaking with ex-wife
The news of the hijack of EgyptAir with 81 people on board shocked the world. The pilot of the plane was threatened by a passenger who claimed to be strapped with explosives, media reports said.
It has come to fore that the hijacker threw a letter written in Arabic on the tarmac and said he wanted it delivered to his estranged wife. He has let go of the women and children on the flight. Four foreign nationals and the EgyptAir crew still remain on board.