Hijacked Pair Greeted With Hugs, Roses at L.A. Airport

Times Staff Writer

A Burbank couple who had been aboard a TWA jetliner hijacked by Shia Muslims in the Middle East returned home Thursday to a bouquet of yellow roses and hugs from family members.

William and Almeda Berry, who were released last weekend, said upon their arrival at Los Angeles International Airport that they had been treated well by the hijackers.

But William Berry, 71, said he is concerned for the safety of the hostages still held.

Another area couple freed by the terrorists, Theophilos and Elizabeth Tartas of Thousand Oaks, also arrived at the airport Thursday but chose not to speak with reporters.


The Berrys were greeted by Burbank mayor Mary Lou Howard, who presented Almeda Berry with the dozen roses.

The couple talked calmly about their captivity and release.

William Berry said they spent most of the time sitting with their heads between their knees. His wife said she was most frightened by separation from her husband.

“The hijackers told us they had no quarrel with the American people, but they did have a quarrel with the American government,” William Berry said. “They said the government is the cause for all the ills in the Middle East.”


Despite the experience, William Berry said the vacation was fun: “We had a wonderful time.”