Hijacked airplane - before 9/1

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Thread: Hijacked airplane - before 9/1

  1. #1
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    Hijacked airplane - before 9/1

    Hijacked airliner scenario. A bit dated, but… based in fact.

    You are on a long , cross-country flight over Europe. The aircraft seats maybe 200 and it is about 80% full. An hour into the flight but a few hours from your destination, three male passengers leap from their seats and declare that the airplane is being hijacked, and that they are in control. You are in the rear half of the airplane, but you can see men with handguns standing and pointing their weapons in the general direction of the passengers.

    One hijacker appears to be in charge, and the other two seem to take direction from him. You note that the hijackers are careful not to get within more than within an arm’s distance of each other at any given time. It appears that the hijackers all have handguns, but you can’t be certain. You see no other weapons such as explosive vests or grenades, and they have not threatened to blow the plane up.

    Since this takes place before 9/11/01, the cockpit door is not armored and the door is propped open so the cockpit is open to the cabin. The flight attendants appear to be restrained in seats at the front of the cabin – they are not moving around. From all you perceive, the pilots are complying with the hijacker’s demands as they make no announcements and the airplane seems to proceed on course in level flight.

    Once the passengers get over the initial shock they are generally quiet and subdued. With some crying, some praying, most others sitting stone-faced.

    During the flight the hijackers are allowing passengers to use the rest room, but only one at a time. They are directed to use only a lav in the rear of the aircraft. After a couple of tense hours you ask you use the lav, and it is finally your turn. You enter the lav and close the door. You take a seat on the john and nervously set about your business. You happen to look down and on the floor, next to the commode, you see a Browning Hi Power which you immediately recognize as belonging to one of the hijackers. You are familiar with the weapon so you pick it up and determine that it is fully loaded.

    What do you do?

    Note: This was a real situation from the 1990s. I've been unsuccessful in trying to find the specifics, but I do know how it ended. Let's hear some proposed solutions before I reveal the actual ending.
    Smitty
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    Member Array carguy2244's Avatar
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    I conceal the weapon, exit the lav, go back to my seat, and observe. I'm prepared to act swiftly if I sense the BGs present an immediate danger to the safety of the flight, or if they get themselves into a position where I have a significant tactical advantage, which I'd need to engage 3 likely armed BGs in a crowd of 160 civilians. Meantime, I have to wait.

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    Member Array lambo969's Avatar
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    Wait for an opportunity to strike if your life comes into immediate danger (i.e. produce explosives or start to take the plane down). Otherwise, there are too many innocent people sitting around to just start an all out gun fight...not to mention the highjackers are probably armed with multiple weapons. Tough place to be.

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    Never heard of this. I did hear of a hijacking where the police had a weapon placed in the lav but some retarded sheep turned it over to the jackers.
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

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    Member Array charlie1826's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    Never heard of this. I did hear of a hijacking where the police had a weapon placed in the lav but some retarded sheep turned it over to the jackers.
    Do you have the story on that? I tried google but its too broad.

    This is definitely one of the worst possible scenarios. You have a weapon but are in tight quarters with BGs and civilians and when the shooting starts its going to be chaos. I would do everything possible to avoid a gun fight at 30,000 feet. If we discovered that it was going to be a 9/11 type of hijacking (we're all going to die anyway) then I would come up with the best plan I could and try something before I let them just kill me without a fight. If I think there is any way that they will land somewhere then I will wait until we are on the ground to try anything. A lot would depend on if you know their goals and what their attitudes are like.
    The problem with an in flight scenario is that any shoot out that going to take place is most likely going to take place in the center aisle. This is bad because one of you is going to be shooting in the direction of the cockpit. You could easily damage flight controls or kill the crew and have no one to fly/land the plane; I know that someone could probably talk one of the passengers through getting the plane on the ground but like I said, I wouldn't risk it unless I knew that they planned to use us as a missile anyways.
    As always JMO

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    Distinguished Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    The scenario is not really worth pursuing, as time and technology have rendered it moot. In the pre-9/11 era, hijackings normally resulted in the plane landing safely and negotiations with the hijackers on the ground is where the drama was. The Raid on Entebbe was unusual, and normally all passengers survived, or at worst one or two might be killed.

    Post-9/11, the writing is on the wall: if you become aware that the plane is in the process of being hijacked, you and all able-bodied passengers must immediately swarm the hijackers without regard to personal safety. There is no other choice. Those who would be hijackers, thanks to the magnificent heroes of Flight 93, are now served notice that they can no longer count on passenger compliance.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

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    One could conceivably take out two hijackers with well-placed shots. You take one out and you can most likely nail another before they have time to react if you're quick and skilled. The problem is that by the time you get to the third he's going to be reacting, so you should be moving for cover/concealment..... in an airplane. Your only real cover is other people and that is absolutely unacceptable. There is also a very good chance they have one or more sleepers just waiting for someone to try being a hero. I'm not saying I'd ever hijack an airplane, but to beat someone sometimes you have to think like them. And putting myself in a hijackers shoes, I'd have two guys on the plane just waiting for someone to try being a hero; one in the front and one in the back.
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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Aircraft hijackings occurred very often prior to 9/11.
    Through the 70's and 80s it was like once a year internationally (including US planes) although back then they were generally referred to as 'skyjacking'.
    Then in the 90s after the Lockerbie terrorist attack they suddenly dropped off, until the WTC,Pentagon and PA field incidents occurred.

    Priot to 9/11 the most infamous aircraft based terrorism events had been Lockerbie and the D.B. Cooper incident.

    A bit of history...
    Nation: WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT SKYJACKING?
    Friday, Jan. 31, 1969

    Jose Martí International, this is Eastern flight number 9, requesting permission for an emergency landing. We have a passenger aboard who wants to go to Cuba.

    CAPTAIN R. D. Smith last week calmly radioed what has become a routine message. Over northern Florida, a young man brandishing a Dominican Republic passport and a hand grenade had burst into the cockpit of the Miami-bound DC-8, shouting "Cuba! Cuba!" The jet held 171 passengers, the largest number skyjacked to date. The same day, four men armed with guns and dynamite took over an Ecuadorian airliner en route from Quito to Miami with 81 passengers and forced it to land in Havana. Both aircraft, with crews and passengers, were held briefly by Cuban authorities and released. Later in the week a National Airlines Key West-New York Boeing 727 with 47 aboard was diverted to Cuba by a young U.S. Navy deserter who said he preferred Cuban exile to duty in Viet Nam.

    Last week's three incidents brought the number of planes skyjacked in the first three weeks of 1969 to eight. At that rate, this year should easily break the alarming 1968 record of 28. There have been 46 skyjackings to Cuba since the first U.S. airliner was forced to land there in May 1961, and despite the enormous risks of midair piracy, the skyjackings have miraculously caused no fatalities or even a single injury. The routine—including the standard radio message—has become well-established...

    The full article can be found at; http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...841562,00.html
    More info on same; http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/hijacke...s/p_crews.html
    Nautical craft boat jackings occur too by pirates as well as drug dealers toward private vessels in open/international waters.

    Anytime, anywhere, anyone by any means.

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    Paramedic was on to it, as far as the "real story" goes. A passenger found the gun in the lav and indeed turned it over to one of the hijackers. IIRC the gun was not planted by cops but rather left there by a hijacker.

    Shockwave, this was offered as a mental exercise with basis in historical fact. The scenario predates armored flight deck doors, but the exercise is far from moot... just imagine a different mode of transportation.

    I struggled with this one a lot and still don't have an optimal solution. My primary thought was to disable the gun (remove firing pin, load rounds backwards, jam a bullet in the barrel) which would allow a BG to think he's armed when he isn't, and wait for an opportunity to take advantage of that. What drove that thought was the BGs realizing they were down one gun and harming/killing passengers until someone gave it up.

    A bunch of different ways to work this one out, and too many variables to allow a clear solution. Returning a functioning weapon to a hijacker is just looney.

    Still researching the actual incident and will post when found.
    Smitty
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    Distinguished Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    the exercise is far from moot... just imagine a different mode of transportation.
    All right then. I take your clarification in the spirit offered.

    My thinking is that the heroes of Flight 93 should not have sacrificed their lives in vain. They gave us the new response paradigm: no more compliance, ever.

    So let's get back aboard that flight of yours. OK. I'm in the lavatory and I have found a loaded gun. I check the ammo - full - and a press check shows one in the chamber. Safety off. I conceal the gun and return to my seat, taking note of as much of the layout possible while in the aisle. Sotto voce, I inform the most able-bodied around me that I've got a gun and we have to make a charge. I'll lead because I have the gun and I know how to use it.

    On a pre-arranged signal, like Todd Beamer's apocryphal "let's roll," the best able passengers enlisted all stand at once and prepare to advance on the goof-balls. I'm sure one or more will be screaming and waving a weapon, yelling "get back down" or similar. I draw, and charge the best target, shooting all the way. If he's down, next target. The entire plane should be now enlisted in the effort. Attack the scum and kill them or die trying. Loss of life is immaterial, since inaction means certain death for all. If even a few survive, that's a win.

    And chances are, almost all would survive unless the plane crashes, because the dirtbags assume compliant, frightened passengers who don't want to be hurt. They have no plan for a mass attack. If they have average pistols, maybe they are carrying 8+1 each. Even shot passengers will still reach them, so they can be swiftly overwhelmed. Each one downed may have a weapon with bullets remaining and these can be used against the remaining garbage. It's the only way.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

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    It all sort of depends on pre-post 9.11 thinking, what the hijackers seem to want as their objective. No one wants to be the guy who gets shot and dumped on the tarmac, but then the jackers may only be looking for safe passage.

    Hate to say it, but if the plane is in the air, holding on to the gun or disabling it and leaving it there could possibly make things worse. OTOH, if plane is on the ground and has been on some sort of hold with authorities fixing to both negotiate and storm it, the gun might come in handy IF the rescuers don't see it and think you are one of the BGs.

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    Member Array celticredneck's Avatar
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    Honestly, I don't know what I'd do in that situation. If I decided to shoot, I would not worry about explosive decompression. The Mythbusters did a thing on that and proved it doesn't happen, at least as could be reproduced on the ground. They didn't want to shoot a hole in an aircraft at 35,000 feet to see what would happen, so they produced a pressure differential where the inside pressure in the plane was the same at sea level as it would be at altitude. Bullet holes produced only small leaks. Personally, I've been of the opinion since 9/11 that all passenger aircraft should be equipped with some sort of sleep gas dispensers in the cabin which could be triggered by the pilot from the sealed cockpit. Sure, someone might have an adverse reaction, but one passenger with an allergic reaction would be preferable to all of them and maybe thousands of others killed when the plane is crashed into some terrorist target.

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    VIP Member Array ctsketch's Avatar
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    for explosive decompression not only do you need much higher pressures but also something that will cause substantially more loss of structural integrity than a bullet.
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