A man trying to hijack a Cubana Airlines plane from Havana to the United States was slain by a policeman after throwing a hand grenade into a group of passengers, injuring 13, Radio Havana reported Wednesday.
Audrey St. John, who works for the station's English-language service, said by telephone from Havana that the incident began Tuesday night when the Soviet-built, twin-engine turboprop AN-24 with 48 people aboard was about to depart from Jose Marti Airport for Nueva Gerona, an island south of Cuba's main island.
She said the would-be hijacker, identified as a Cuban named Juan Carlos Jimenez Gonzalez, pulled out grenades and demanded to be flown to the United States, but the pilot refused. At that point, she said, the hijacker threw one of the grenades. An off-duty policemen who was a passenger then shot Jimenez to death, she said.
Two of those injured--a 5-year-old boy and a man--were listed in critical condition in a Havana hospital. The remaining victims were in satisfactory condition.
The Cuban news agency Prensa Latina, in a report monitored in Mexico City, said Jimenez had a criminal record. St. John said the National News Agency referred to him as "a common criminal." She said his age has not been released.
No details were given on the landing of the plane or the extent of damage to it.