United States airline pilots threatened a strike in protest against what they see as inadequate steps by the United States Government to stop aircraft hijacking.
LV INT Captain John J. O'Donnell talking to press (2 shots)
CU O'Donnell speaking
"It is incredible that once this precipitous action was taken, that the FBI did not take the proper steps to immobilise the aircraft. In other words, a bad decision compounded by an in-depth follow-through. As a direct result of the outside intervention, an attempt was made to murder the first officer and the landing in Cuba was critical itself. Only miracle and again the competence of the Captain prevented a total disaster, and the aircraft, for all intents and purposes was un-airworthy, nearly killing everyone on board. If it was in my powers alone, today, I would shut down America's air industry, 'til such time as the proper guarantees for the safety of the passengers and crew was made by the Federal Government. However, we must all remember that our last attempt at alerting the travelling public, and attempting to exert pressure from this method was relegated to a court fight with the air carriers. In less than two weeks, the board of directors of the Air Line Pilots' Association will be meeting, and at that time, I am positive the responsible leaders of the Air Line Pilots' Association, in concert, will make the proper decision to bring the menace of hijacking to an end."
Initials ESP/1602 ESP/1609
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: United States airline pilots threatened a strike in protest against what they see as inadequate steps by the United States Government to stop aircraft hijacking.
Leaders of the U.S. Air LINE Pilots' Federation also accused the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of seriously endangering the lives of the crew and passengers of a jet which was hijacked to Cuba on November 11.
Pilots' Association President John O'Donnell said at a press conference on Wednesday (November 15), that it was a miracle everyone on the plane was not killed when FBI agents shot and punctured the aircraft's tyres as it was taking off from Orlando in Florida, after three hijackers took over the Southern Airway jet.
There are now signs that Cuba, where may U.S. hijackings end, may no longer be a haven for hijackers. Cuba yesterday (November 15) declared it was ready to negotiate over the problem of air piracy. The U.S. State Department replied publicly that there may be a basis for re-opening talks with Cuba on the matter.
The Board of Directors of the U.S. Air Line Pilots' Association meet in about two weeks to consider strike action next year if there is no crackdown on hijackers.
Mr. O'Donnell sent a letter outlining the Association's demands for stronger anti-hijacking measures to President Nixon on Tuesday (November 14). He spoke of his Association's stand at a Washington Press Conference yesterday:
SYNOPSIS: American airline pilots - demanding adequate protection against hijacking - also complain of recent FBI action in shooting at the wheels of a hijacked airliner. Their President told reporters: