Three hijackers threatened to blow up a Libyan plane with forty-nine people on board on Tuesday (16 October).
GV PAN Airport building at Luqa airport, Malta
GV Hijacked aircraft on tarmac
GV PAN FROM Other aircraft TO hijacked aircraft
GV Libyan airline aircraft sent to pick up passengers
SV Police leaving jeep
SV PAN Prime Minister Dom Mintoff walking towards aircraft to take Mintoff to Libya
SV Photographers looking on from tarmac
GV Executive jet carrying Mintoff taxiing down runway
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Background: Three hijackers threatened to blow up a Libyan plane with forty-nine people on board on Tuesday (16 October). They forced the airliners to land in Malta, but surrendered to police after an hour of negotiations involving Prime Minister Dom Mintoff. The Prime Minister was at Luqa airport on his way to Tripoli. The three young Syrians who seized the plane on a domestic fight from Khoms to Tripoli forced the pilot to take them to Malta.
SYNOPSIS: The aircraft made for Luqa airport, where it was allowed to land because it had exhausted its fuel reserves.
Soon after the plane landed, all of the passengers and the two air hostesses were allowed to disembark, but the pilot and co-pilot stayed on board with the hijackers.
The Libyan Jamahiriyah then sent a second airliner to pick up the released passenger. After a further hour of negotiations, the hijackers, too left the plane and gave themselves up to the police.
Maltese Premier Dom Mintoff, who was at the airport en route to the Libyan Jamahiriyah, intervened personally in the negotiations. He was in contact with the hijackers from the control tower. The Libyan news agency Jana reported later that the hijackers all carried Syrian passports, but gave no further information.
After the hijackers surrendered, Premier Mintoff left for Tripoli, where he was expected to meet the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. On Wednesday (17 October) the hijacked aircraft was flown back to Tripoli.