The ordeal of more than 260 people aboard a hijacked Dutch jumbo jet ended early Tuesday morning, as the passengers -- one by one -- began leaving the air -- carat at Malta's Luqa Airport.
SV PAN FROM TV camera TO KLM HQ
SV Japanese reporters seated at table
CU KLM Spokesman De Soet speaking
A TRANSCRIPT OF MR DE SOET'S COMMENTS ON FILM FOLLOWS:
REPORTER: Why don't you go directly to Tripoli?
MR. SOET: Because, we don't know if the airplane is going to stay at Tripoli, and we want to be at this very moment as close as possible to the place where the aircraft is. But we have indications that its going to move to another destination.
REPORTER: How are your contacts with Tripoli at this moment?
MR SOET: They are going by telephone -- I haven't got the latest news -- but we are in regular contact with the tower.
REPORTER: You don't have contact with y our captain in the Boeing 747?
MR SOET: We had it this morning, but not any more. I think he is not allowed to use the channel anymore.
REPORTER: Do you know, by any chance, where the men went aboard?
MR. SOET: No, we don't know for sure, but we have some guess that it may have been at Beirut.
REPORTER: Police officers at Schipol Airport said there was no check in Amsterdam yesterday.
MR. SOET: We have had regular procedures as we always have at Schipol Airport, and there were no specific precautions being taken at the regular check.
REPORTER: The hijackers have demanded just a minute ago that the plane should leave in a certain direction. What is your reaction to that?
MR SOET: We don't know what direction it will be. We cannot do anything as yet, we just have to await what further instructions of the hijackers are.
REPORTER: And he got the impression and it is just his impression, that the hijackers will allow all passengers to leave the aircraft, and part of the cabin crew as well. That is the latest news I've got.
MR. SOET: There is no fuel in Malta as far as we know, no.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The ordeal of more than 260 people aboard a hijacked Dutch jumbo jet ended early Tuesday morning, as the passengers -- one by one -- began leaving the air -- carat at Malta's Luqa Airport.
The KLM Boeingh 747 was hijacked Sunday (25 November) while on a flight from Amsterdam to Tokyo. After taking control of the airliner over Iraq, the hijackers forced the Dutch pilot to land first at Damascus and then at Nicosia, Cyprus, before flying on to Tripoli early Monday (26 November) morning. Later in the day, they flew on to the small airstrip in malta.
The hijackers -- there were reported to be at least three -- agreed to release the passengers after being told that the plane could not lift off safely with them aboard.
The gunmen said they would release half of the passengers when the first 13,000 gallons of the necessary 27,000 gallons of fuel had been pumped aboard, with the rest being released at completion of the refuelling operation.
Of the more than 240 passengers, 173 were Japanese, but there were also people of several other nationalities aboard.
While the hijack drama was being played out over the Mediterranean, the Deputy President of KLM Airlines in Amsterdam, Mr J.F.H. De Soet,was relaying reports to gathered newsmen.
SYNOPSIS: As the drama of the airline hijacking was being played out over the Mediterranean on Monday, reporters waited anxiously at the headquarters of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in Amsterdam. Airline Deputy President J.F.H. De Soet was asked about the situation when the plane was in Tripoli.
The hijackers ordered the plane to Malta where -- after tense negotiations -- it was agreed to release the two-hundred and forty-seven passengers in exchange for fuel. All the passengers were reported released, but the final destination and the fate of the crew is still not known.