Soviet Jet Hijacked; Defector Surrenders
A man demanding to be taken to the United States today hijacked a Soviet airliner with 60 people on board and threatened to blow it up, authorities said. He later surrendered and sought political asylum.
The 55 passengers and five crew members safely left the aircraft, parked beside a runway at Helsinki airport and surrounded by police. The hijacker gave up an hour later after talks with Finnish officials through a cabin door of the twin-jet Tupolev 134.
In Moscow, Soviet Deputy Aviation Minister Mikhail Timofeev identified the hijacker as Oleg Kozlov, 22. Timofeev said the man had threatened to blow up the plane.
Finnish Interior Minister Jarmo Rantanen said that no explosives were found on the plane but that the hijacker “had a bomb-like object under his jacket.”
Unconfirmed reports persisted that three people were involved, and Finnish authorities said they were holding the 55 passengers overnight for questioning.
Finnish Radio reported without explanation that three men were arrested but that only one was suspected of hijacking. Rantanen told the radio: “We thought that he had two assistants, but we are not so sure now.”
All the passengers were Soviets, Rantanen said.
The plane had been en route from the Latvian capital of Riga to Murmansk on the northern Kola Peninsula when it was hijacked.