Hijacking Ends Without Injury in Nicaragua
A Salvadoran claiming he had an explosive device hijacked a commercial airliner carrying 78 passengers Sunday, but the crisis ended peacefully when he was arrested at the airport here, officials said.
Nicaraguan Interior Minister Alfredo Mendieta told reporters that three military intelligence agents posing as civilian negotiators captured the hijacker after determining that an alleged bomb he had wielded was a fake.
Officials said he was seeking asylum outside his country, but his motives were not clear. The hijacker was carrying a passport that identified him as Angel Alberto Salguera Narvaez, 24, but Mendieta said the passport may be fake.
The hijacking began in Guatemala where Salguera boarded a Panamanian COPA airlines Boeing 737 en route to El Salvador. While over his native country, Salguera unveiled a taped-up bundle he said was a bomb and ordered the pilot to fly to Mexico.
According to a COPA press release, the pilot, Capt. Jorge Llaurado, told Salguera the plane did not have enough fuel to reach Mexico and instead flew to Managua.
The passengers were allowed to leave the plane as it sat on the runway, officials said.
Mendieta said Nicaraguan and Salvadoran officials were conferring about how to proceed since the hijacking occurred in Salvadoran airspace.
He said Salguera, who was carrying a Bible, was thought to be an opponent of El Salvador’s rightist government but it was not known if he had fought with leftist rebels in the 12-year civil war that ended in 1992.
Carlos Charry, a Reuters news service technician on board the flight, said the crew handled the problem so quietly that passengers were unaware of any problem until the pilot announced before landing that an “abnormal situation” had come up.