The French Boeing 707 airliner -- used to fly four Japanese gunmen out of Holland after the siege of the French Embassy in the Hague -- left Damascus Airport on Thursday (19 September) on its return journey to the Netherlands.
GV 'Plane on runway with fuel lorry drawing up.
SV Ground staff around 'plane.
GV Crew walking across tarmac AND PAN TO pilot entering 'plane.
GV Through railings airline gangway moved away.
SV Hatch and cockpit of 'plane.
GV 'plane taxis across runway.
LV 'Plane takes off.
Initials VS 1.12 1.19
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The French Boeing 707 airliner -- used to fly four Japanese gunmen out of Holland after the siege of the French Embassy in the Hague -- left Damascus Airport on Thursday (19 September) on its return journey to the Netherlands. The 'plane had arrived in Syria the night before, after refuelling in Aden.
The plane's crew flew off without the three hundred thousand dollar (125,000 pounds sterling) ransom, which had been handed to the gunmen before they left Holland. The ransom which had been handed to the gunmen by the Dutch Government, was apparently left with the Syrian authorities as part of the deal between the Japanese Red Army gunmen and the Syrian Government.
An official Syrian statement said the Japanese gunmen were in the custody of the "appropriate Syrian authorities". But it did not say what would happen to them.
The four young Japanese Red Army commandos -- wearing red shirts -- seemed in good spirits when they left the 'plane on Wednesday night. They had spent three and a half hours haggling with Syrian officials and Palestinian commando representatives at Damascus airport.
When the French Boeing arrived back at Holland's Schiphol Airport, the crew was greeted by a crowd of 300. As the two Dutchmen and one Englishman left the 'plane they were greeted by Dutch dignitaries. They were then whisked off into the VIP lounge for a champagne celebration.