UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: Thursday, July 26, 301 AP.

Passenger killed attempting to escape on hijacked plane

The paramilitary hijackers of an Aij Utani K-0330 jet have shot and killed a
woman attempting to escape from the plane, and wounded several ground crew
encouraging her.

The incident is the first fatality in this two-and-a-half-week old hijacking,
and has renewed calls by the hijackers to take them seriously in their threat
to blow up the plane and its now-182 passengers and crew.

The as-yet-unidentified woman was attempting to escape out a rear cargo door of
the jet while the jet was being resupplied by ground crews. She had apparently
stolen her way into the cargo bay via the kitchen next to the toilet
facilities. The hijackers were completely unaware of her disappearance until
one saw her hesitating to drop the two or three metres from the hatch on the
bottom of the plane. He called to his fellow hijackers while firing wildly with
a sub-machinegun at the woman and the ground crewmen encouraging her escape.
Three ground crewmen are confirmed as suffering gunshot wounds, and the woman's
body has been subsequently removed by a medical crew.

The hijackers have suspended all "sun walks" -- escorted walks in the sun by
twelve passengers at a time, agreed only last Monday -- and are threatening to
explode the plane unless their three-fold demands are met by Sunday morning.
President Okarvits has already said he will not support the two ket demands of
the hijackers, saying the government cannot accept "blackmail".

Negotiators are describing the hijackers as "fraying at the edge", saying they
are likely to follow through on their threat.

©UPA, 301 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)