MEXICO CITY - A jetliner from the beach resort of Cancun was hijacked by a Bolivian religious fanatic who said he had a divine revelation, according to Mexican authorities.
Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna says Jose Mar Flores,
44, told police that Wednesday's date - 9-9-09 - is the satanic
number 666 turned upside down.
Garcia Luna says Flores used a fake bomb to hijack the plane,
then ordered the pilot to circle over Mexico City seven times.
He said he wanted to warn Mexican President Felipe Calderon of an
The hijackers released all passengers shortly before federal police
stormed the plane, and the crew emerged unharmed moments later.
Police, who did not fire a single shot, led as many as eight
handcuffed men away from the airplane, which was isolated at the
end of a runway in an area designed for emergencies.
U.S., French and Mexican citizens were among the 112 passengers
and crew on Aeromexico Flight 576, according to a U.S. official who
had been briefed on the situation.
The official was not authorized
to discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Mexico's transportation and communications secretary, Juan
Molinar, said there was no bomb on the airplane, although some
passengers said one of the hijackers held a package that resembled
an explosive device, and a bomb squad was later seen near the
He did not immediately identify the hijackers or speculate on
"Various people who participated in the act have been detained
and we are investigating," Molinar said.
The attorney general's office said it was opening an
investigation into terrorism and kidnapping but did not specify how
many people could be charged.
Mexican news media initially reported the hijackers were
Bolivian, but Bolivia's ambassador to Mexico, Jorge Mancilla, said
Mexican authorities had no evidence that was the case.
Mancilla said sources told him they could be Colombian or Venezuelan.
Several passengers told reporters they did not notice a non-Mexican
Passenger Rocio Garcia told the Televisa network that the pilot
made an announcement after landing in Mexico City that the airplane
was being hijacked. Passengers said the hijackers never
communicated with them directly.
"These were scary moments," she said.
She said she saw one of the hijackers whom she described as a
well-dressed, older man.
"He looked fine, like a normal passenger," she said.
Passenger Daniel Hernandez said he saw a hijacker carrying a
The most recent hijacking in the Americas occurred on April 19,
when a man with a handgun tried to commandeer a Canadian jetliner
from Jamaica. The standoff ended before takeoff at Montego Bay's
airport when military commandos burst onto the plane and disarmed
the man, who was described as "mentally challenged."
Religious Fanatic Hijacked Plane After 9-9-09 Revelation
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