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Jamaican hijacker surrenders
Kingston, Apr 20 (Agencies):
Published on 20 Apr. 2009 11:27 PM IST
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A gunman who hijacked a passenger plane in the Jamaican resort of Montego Bay has surrendered, the country’s information ministry has said. Six crew members held hostage by the man were released unharmed. More than 150 passengers were on board when the man forced his way onto the Canada-bound plane demanding passage to Cuba. All were released within hours. The man breached security and boarded as the plane was about to take off at around 2230 local time (0330 GMT). Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who has been offering support to the passengers, is on his way to the aircraft. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is also currently in Jamaica, on a one-day visit following the recent Summit of the Americas in Trinidad. The gunman reportedly checked in for the flight then forced his way past checkpoints and went on board brandishing a firearm. He is said to have robbed passengers, most of whom were released after half an hour. Unconfirmed reports say a shot was fired outside the aircraft, probably on the boarding bridge, but no-one was hit. Two of the passengers were held for several hours before being released, according to reports. The charter airline that owns the Boeing 737 plane, CanJet, said 182 people were on board, including 174 passengers. Jamaican Information Minister Daryl Vaz told CNN the gunman was Jamaican, a “mentally challenged youngster” who was demanding to be flown to Cuba. The aircraft was bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia, but was due to stop in Santa Clara in Cuba on the way. Most passengers, all of whom are Canadian, were taken to a local hospital, some of them suffering from shock. Police and security services closed and cordoned off the airport and surrounded the plane as the situation developed. Correspondents say security at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport is normally very good. The airport, one of the most modern in the Caribbean, handles about four million passengers a year.

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