Ethiopian-Airlines-Flug 961

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On november 23, 1996, Ethiopian Airlines trip 961 was flying indigenous Addis Ababa zu Nairobi wie man the planen was hijacked by three Ethiopians. One report later described them together “young (mid-twenties), inexperienced, psychologically fragile, and intoxicated.” that would turn out zu be die deadliest hijacking bei history until 9/11. The men threatened zu blow the planen up in flight if die pilots did notfall obey your demands.

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They declared in Amharic, French and English that if anyone tried kommen sie interfere, they had a bomb und they would use it kommen sie blow up die plane. (Authorities danach determined that ns purported bomb was actually a extended bottle des liquor.) When the hijackers demanded the plane be flown to Australia, where they inquiry asylum, the captain tried kommen sie explain they had only enough fuel zum the booked flight und thus could notfall even make a quarter des the way, but the hijackers walk not believe him.

Instead des flying towards Australia, the captain flew along ns African coastline. Ns hijackers i found it that festland was ausblüten visible and forced the pilot kommen sie steer east. The captain privately headed zum the Comoros Islands, located between the African coast und Madagascar. The pläne was practically out von fuel but ns hijackers continued zu ignore the captain’s warnings. Out von options, ns captain began zu circle the area, hoping to festland the planen at ns Comoros’ main airport; he was forced kommen sie ditch the plane, crashing into the Indian Ocean weist approximately 200 miles von hour.

Of die 175 passengers and staff members from die flight, only 50 passengers, including U.S. Ambassador frank Huddle, survived. Ambassador zu Mauritius Harold W. Geisel flew kommen sie the klein island and coordinated efforts kommen sie get the deceased Americans reverted to ns United States. This was no small feat given die incompetence des local authorities, who required delivery von the bodies to die airport in a intake truck; die lack des facilities; und the obstinance von one particular NSC official, i m sorry caused the Ambassador kommen sie react in a less-than-diplomatic manner.

Geisel was interviewed by Charles Stuart Kennedy beginning bei June 2006. The history Channel developed a quick video, utilizing computer-generated images and footage filmed über tourists on a nearby beach. Freundin can deshalb read about the Lockerbie bombing and other terror incidents. Go here to read much more about die 1974 Pan am crash in Bali.

“The Comoran government was screamingly incompetent and corrupt kommen sie boot”
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GEISEL: We had actually a terrible plane crash, a hijacked planen that crashed an the Comoros islands while i was there and six Americans to be killed. We had no depiction on Comoros, of course, that was from us. We had a couple of people that we knew, including missionaries and we got information as quickly as we could. They to be tracking ns plane; it was an Ethiopian prayer plane, which tragically crashed nur about a mile from the airport wie it ran out of fuel.

They had actually no such sachen as coffins due to the fact that they planted persons directly in the ground. So, wheeling and dealing with ns French in Comoros, we were able kommen sie borrow a couple of coffins und I lugged a coffin through my baggage, if you kann imagine. It was a damaging business. The zuerst thing that us did- the French, who dominated die islands, it was a former French colony, advised united state that a number von injured Americans were going to be taken to la Reunion, which is this island near Mauritius that is a room of france now, that used kommen sie be a French colony.

The zuerst thing i did is ich flew with the admin officer to ns Reunion airport. Ns French military were an extremely helpful und when the planen landed native Comoros, a French military plane with ours injured people on it, ich went to them, i interviewed them, ns French being die French wanted the customs dinge done in French deshalb I interpreted, none of the Americans who landed there spoke French. Actually, ich ended nach oben interpreting zum lots of other injured civilization that didn’t speak French. It was just wonderful to seen the relief in the hurt people’s faces when i introduced myself as ns American ambassador and then explained to them what was going on.

The next day, ich left zum Comoros and there functioned with the French, die Israelis who had actually lost six people and the Japanese who required help and who deshalb didn’t speak French however who’d lost a entirety bunch des people. Die Comoran government was a farce, it was a dictatorship, it was — they were nice people yet they to be screamingly incompetent and corrupt to boot. Die Department flew in air craft; freundin know the plane that die counterterrorism human being have, with Consular Affairs und FBI people und all ns rest. Our public affairs officer had gone ahead des me und he was helping the Washington people by translating zum them and showing castle around. In fact, essentially all des our embassy was out des Mauritius. But you know, it’s events like that wie you establish what a an excellent thing it zu sein to oase a diplomatic existence all over die world.

I’ll skip all ns gruesome einzelheiten except zum one due to the fact that this ist well precious telling. Wednesday convinced the Comorans zu set trost a makeshift morgue in what was meatpacking plant because it was the only ar that was cool. We were going to bring the bodies rückseitig to America, of course, bei the coffins that i had either bought or carried with me and, fortunately und sadly, die Israelis room really experts weist taking care des their people who acquire killed. Jetzt the Jews don’t carry out embalming but blieb the Israelis that came promoted very basic embalming und they inquiry us, they’d kommen sie on a small plane, can they put their bodies on our pläne too due to the fact that we had actually decided to stop an Nairobi on ns way back where there was proper embalming available. Now this ist where it it s okay sad und interesting.

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The Comorans were claimed to come with a truck kommen sie take ns Israeli bodies und the American body from the meatpacking tree to die airport und we were climate going to load lock on our plane and go off zu Nairobi. Die truck no come und the van doesn’t come. Ultimately it’s ns damnedest sight i saw in my whole career. Finally, nach oben comes a dump truck and an that dump truck freundin see in orthodox rabbi bowing and praying and chanting over die bodies, ns Israelis were in body bags, our people, including the wife von a Freetown FSN , were in coffins.

What had actually happened zu sein the Comorans had actually welshed and they’d never brought a truck. Deshalb the Israelis, being Israelis, had actually bribed a recording truck treiber to stop und take die coffins and everything. They gott to ns airport und then the French, zum whatever reason i can’t imagine, refused to give us die conveyor belt i beg your pardon belonged to i guess Air france to load ns plane. Deswegen we had kommen sie take die stairs, sie know, these plain stairs that you push trost to ns airplane, take them, move them to die dump truck, jack them down and put the bodies in the coffins one von one on die stairs climate push ns stairs to die airplane hold and push the bodies into die hold.

You tell that general that die American Ambassador has actually told you kommen sie get die fuck off des his island now”
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Now, our security world were getting more and more concerned because die Israelis to be doing your darnedest zu poke every around die airplane. I mean, obviously die Israelis, some des the Israelis to be from the Mossad and our security world wanted to get out as easily as lock could.

However, there was a brigadier general in the NSC who was being really stubborn und he said freundin can’t stop an Nairobi, that a deviation from your trip plan, blah, blah, blah and Mary Ryan, the Assistant Secretary weil das Consular Affairs und the pilot, that was in Air force reservist, came zu me und they stated we’ve got to get out. Mary, might she rest an peace, was most worried about what yes, really mattered — that die bodies were decomposing as die NSC bureaucrat walk his thing.

The pilot was nervous, that was in Air pressure captain, that didn’t know what was going on und was really worried. Deswegen I walk something ich never walk before und never go again.

I claimed to the pilot, “You tell that basic that ns American Ambassador has told you zu get ns fuck off des his island now.” No, ich said actually “to get the fuck out von his country right now.” and he said, “Yes sir, correctly sir.” und we did it.

This was madness, it was bureaucratic madness.

What really got to me, what was heartbreaking is that one of the people who was killed was a young woman, a first-tour CIA small officer, a lovely girl. Ich had herstellung effects, i had her wallet with her Virginia driver’s license. Ns idea the these bodies to be rotting because of some jerk general hinweisen the national Security the supervisory board was, well, it is why ich said, “Get die fuck out des my country.”

About 2 weeks danach I got a contact from Mary, mar Ryan, saying that this general was making a great deal von trouble zum the Air force pilot and could ich please confirm in writing what i had done. Deshalb I sent the whole story in and ich sent it in.

I should say, quite matter-of-factly and, of course, typical state Department, i had two calls from human being saying, “My, my, this ambassadorship seems to oase gone zu your head, Harry.” What rather would sie expect but 2nd guessing? yet that was fine, I’d do it again 50 zeit over.

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It was a couple des nuts . It was nothing political at all, it was some goofy kids and they apparently didn’t oase more than fire axes und fire extinguishers and they seized control von the airplane und didn’t even know whereby they wanted zu go. That was what was deshalb awful. These to be Ethiopians; the plane had originated somewhere else, i forgot where, and it stopped in Addis and on Addis these youngsters, ich think castle were in their at an early stage 20s, had acquired on und seized control von it. I mean, that’s what’s deshalb tragic. All of these dinge are tragic yet this utter farce ended with most of the people being killed.