Pan Am Flight 110

Pan Am Flight 110

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On December 17, 1973, '''Pan Am Flight 110''' was scheduled to fly from [[Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport|Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport]] in [[Rome]] to [[Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport|Beirut International Airport]] in [[Lebanon]] and then on to [[Tehran]], [[Iran]]. At the controls of the [[Boeing 707|Boeing 707-321B]] (registration number {{airreg|N|407PA|disaster}}), the ''Clipper Celestial'', were [[Pilot in command|Captain]] Andrew Erbeck, [[First Officer (civil aviation)|First Officer]] Robert Davison, and [[Flight engineer|Flight Engineer]] Kenneth Pfrang. At approximately 1:10 PM (13:10) local time, just as Flight 110 was preparing to taxi, between six and ten [[Palestinian people|Palestinian]] terrorists made their way through the terminal building, armed with [[automatic firearm]]s and [[grenade]]s. The terrorists removed submachine guns from hand luggage bags and began firing throughout the terminal, shattering windows and killing two. Crew in the [[cockpit]] of the aircraft were able to observe travelers and airport employees in the building running for cover. Captain Erbeck announced over the plane's [[public address]] system that there was some commotion in the terminal and ordered all on board to get down on the floor. Several of the gunmen ran across the [[tarmac]] toward the Pan American jet, throwing at least two and as many as five [[phosphorus]] [[Incendiary device|incendiary]] hand grenades through the open front and rear doors of the aircraft. The explosions knocked crew and passengers to the ground, and the cabin filled with thick, acrid smoke from the resulting fires. [[Flight attendant]]s were able to open the [[emergency exit]] over the wing on one side of the plane; the other was obstructed by gunmen. The crew attempted to evacuate as many passengers as possible through the available exit, but twenty-nine passengers and Purser Diana Perez perished on the plane, including all eleven passengers in the [[First class travel|first class]] section. Four Moroccan high officials heading to Iran for a visit, and Bonnie Erbeck, wife of the captain, were among the dead. Captain Andrew Erbeck survived the attack. Also killed were fourteen [[Saudi Aramco|Aramco]] employees and employee family members. ==Lufthansa hijacking== Other gunmen took several Italian hostages and Lufthansa ground crewmembers into a [[Lufthansa]] [[Boeing 737]] waiting to depart for [[Munich]]. An Italian customs officer was shot dead on the ground after resisting. The plane, containing Captain Joe Kroese, the first officer, two flight attendants, two ground crew, and eight Italian hostages, took off for [[Athens]], [[Greece]] on the orders of the five terrorists also on board. After landing in [[Athens]], the terrorists demanded by radio the release of two Palestinian gunmen responsible for a previous attack on an [[Ellinikon International Airport|Athens airport]] terminal [[Airport lounge|lounge]]. They claimed to have killed five hostages, including the plane's first officer. The terrorists also threatened to crash the jet in the middle of Athens if their demands were not met. In reality, only one Italian hostage had been killed and one wounded. The plane took off again from Athens after sixteen hours on the ground and after the gunmen had released the wounded hostage and dumped the body of the dead hostage onto the tarmac. The plane next headed for [[Beirut]], where Lebanese authorities refused to allow landing, and blocked the [[runway]] with vehicles. [[Cyprus]] also refused to allow landing. The guerrillas on board finally ordered the plane to be landed in [[Damascus]], [[Syria]], allegedly because the plane was running low on fuel. In Syria, [[Syrian Air Force|Air Force]] Commander Major General Naji Jamil attempted to persuade the Palestinians to release the hostages, but they refused. The Syrians provided food and refueled the plane. They also treated a head injury suffered by one of the hijackers. The plane took off again after about two to three hours. The commandeered jet next headed for [[Kuwait]], where Kuwaiti authorities refused to allow it to land. Captain Kroese was ordered by the terrorists to land anyway on a secondary runway. An hour of negotiations between the Palestinian gunmen and the Kuwaiti authorities ended with the release of all twelve remaining hostages in exchange for "free passage" to an unknown destination for the hijackers. The terrorists were permitted to retain their weapons and made a V-for-[[victory sign]] with their hands upon leaving the plane. It was reported that Kuwaiti authorities later took the hijackers to an air base for [[interrogation]] purposes. Kuwait announced that it had no intention of putting the hijackers on trial, and initially considered releasing the hijackers to the [[Palestine Liberation Organization]]. In March 1974, President [[Anwar Sadat]] of [[Egypt]] agreed to allow them to come to [[Cairo]] under the responsibility of the [[PLO]], which said the men would be tried for carrying out an "unauthorized operation." The five terrorists were later released under negotiations during another hijacking that took place on November 21, 1974, but were then returned to the custody of the PLO. It is unclear what happened to them after their return to PLO custody. ==See also== *[[Pan American World Airways]] *[[Aircraft hijacking]] *[[List of terrorist incidents]] *[[List of accidents and incidents involving airliners by airline#P|List of accidents and incidents involving airliners by airline]] ==Sources== *[http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,910908,00.html Death in Rome Aboard Flight 110], ''[[Time (magazine)|TIME]]'', December 31, 1973. Retrieved on April 10, 2007. *"Arab Hijackers Land in Kuwait; Hostages Freed," ''[[The New York Times]]'', December 19, 1973. Page 1. *"Arab Guerrillas Kill 31 in Rome During Attack on U.S. Airliner, Take Hostages and Go to Athens," ''The New York Times'', December 18, 1973. Page 1. *"Gunmen Punished, P.L.O. Announces," ''The New York Times'', January 25, 1975. Page 1. (The "gunmen punished" were those involved in the November 21 hijacking.) *[http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/august/5/newsid_4533000/4533763.stm Athens attack leaves 3 dead], ''[[BBC News]]'', August 5, 1973. Retrieved on April 10, 2007. *[http://www.tkb.org/Incident.jsp?incID=1190 MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base record of December 17, 1973]. Retrieved on April 10, 2007. {{coord missing|Italy}} {{Aviation accidents and incidents in 1973}}