A Hijacked Life

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Airlines / Aviation

Not everyone felt the same.

A Hijacked Life

Finally, the crew told us we were making an emergency landing in Damascus and could take one small bag with us. The crew told us to run in the direction of the wind, but it was getting dark and there was no wind, only heat. The Syrian authorities sent buses to take us to the University of Damascus for interrogation. The following day, the Syrians gave us shoes and took us to see the Palestinian refugee camps.

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hijack: Air India gets a hijack threat, airports put on high alert - The Economic Times

We finally got to Athens at 3am on Sunday morning, grateful to be alive and determined to make the most of our vacation. Do you have an experience to share? Email experience theguardian. Topics Life and style Experience. Palestinian territories Middle East and North Africa features.

Reuse this content. Order by newest oldest recommendations. The hijackers moved the passengers to the back of the plane, as a stewardess made the most terrifying announcement I've ever heard: "Ladies and gentlemen, the group responsible apologises for the inconvenience caused. Their argument is not with you, they do not wish to hurt anybody; but if you make any sudden movements, you will be shot. What we didn't know was that the terrorists had already killed one of the passengers. I didn't hear the shot, which seems unbelievable, but I was hunched in my seat, trying to be inconspicuous.

The hijackers seized our passports, and after two hours, they randomly selected my name from these. They called me forward, at which point I was convinced they were going to shoot me. I tried to say something about my brother, to say: "Please don't kill me, my parents have got no one else". But the leader just waved his hand at me as if to say, "I'm too busy for that". Then I was made to kneel in front of him. There I stayed, for almost 12 hours, while a Pan Am official on the ground with a megaphone tried to negotiate with the terrorists from under the wing of the plane.

Finally, I was ordered to the back of the plane with the other hostages. I was momentarily relieved, but suddenly the hijackers started to throw hand grenades, and moments later, uttering cries of "Jihad", they emptied their Kalashnikovs in seconds, killing 20 people and horrifically injuring many more. The plane filled with smoke. I was covered in blood but unhurt, and realised they'd run out of ammunition. This was my chance. I managed to make it out of a door and jump to safety from the wing. I hid in a nearby building until a soldier found me. I was astonished to be alive and unscathed amid such chaos and death.

In the long term, the experience has left me with an appreciation of how precious life is. I wouldn't say that every day is full of unmitigated joy, but I certainly have a heightened sense of life's beauty. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists? Try Independent Minds free for 1 month. Independent Minds Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Minds.

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Headlines: Shooting Down a Hijacked Plane – Killing a Few to Save the Lives of Many

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