Plane Hijacked to Protest Nuclear Tests

<i> From Associated Press</i>

A Spaniard who authorities said was “not all there” threatened to blow up a Paris-bound airliner Sunday to protest French nuclear tests, but he was overpowered by police after releasing nearly 300 passengers.

The 33-year-old man, whose name was not released, was arrested after a 90-minute standoff with police at the Geneva airport, where he forced the French Air Inter Airbus to land midway into a flight from the Spanish island of Majorca.

About 30 minutes after the release of the passengers, the pilot told police that the hijacker appeared to be having a breakdown, and two officers boarded the plane and arrested him in the cockpit. No one was hurt, and the nine crew members were freed.


The incident began Sunday morning when the man handed a flight attendant a note denouncing the planned resumption of French nuclear testing in the South Pacific and what he saw as Spanish complicity, said Jean-Philippe Maitre, president of the Geneva airport authority.

The note, which included the words “Thou shalt not kill,” contained a threat to blow up the plane with a remote-controlled device--later found to be a cellular phone, Maitre said. No explosives were found on board.

Maitre said the hijacker did not appear to have ties with groups protesting the nuclear tests, which have prompted an international outcry.

“It really was an isolated act by a person acting on his own,” Maitre said, “for motives probably resulting from his own imbalance.”