News & Current Affairs - Monday, April 20, 2009 2:32
Plane Hijacked in Montego Bay, JamaicaBy Antillean, News Desk
A man is holding several hostages on an airplane at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica, after apparently sneaking aboard the charter flight, it has been reported.
The crew of the Canjet plane and 169 passengers were held for 30 minutes before the passengers were released after they were robbed. It has been reported that the hijacker entered the plane after getting onto the runway.
The gunman reportedly checked in for the flight then forced his way past security and went on board brandishing a firearm.
Police negotiators have engaged the hijacker and are trying to ensure the safe release of the remaining passengers and crew.
One shot was fired on board but no injuries are reported.
The plane was due to fly to Canada.
Update 2:03AM – Hijacker identified as Jamaican, Montego Bay resident (GoJamaica) however at 3:OOAM sources say gunman is Latino – and that CanJet intended to make scheduled stop in Cuba. That is unconfirmed at this time.
Update: 2:05AM – Radio Jamaica reporter Latoya Johnson says 167 of 169 passengers have been released after being robbed.
Update: 2:34AM – Reports are that seven hostages remain on board. Five crew, two passengers.
Update 2:44AM - A hostage-taker released all but two passengers and five crew members early Monday from a charter plane at a Jamaican airport, officials said.
Police had the plane surrounded and were negotiating with the hostage-taker. It was not immediately known what the man’s demands were.
Passengers were boarding the CanJet flight at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay late Sunday when the man took an undisclosed number of them hostage, said Elizabeth Scotton, a spokeswoman for the company managing the airport.
About 150 people were scheduled to be on the flight, said Jamaican police Lt. Col. Derek Robinson, and it was not known how many were on the plane (CNN).
Update 2:54AM – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper happens to be in Jamaica – he is currently there to present a CDN$18.5m grant to Jamaican Justice system – ironically (Gleaner)
Update 2:58AM – PM Bruce Golding and Ministers of Security and Information overseeing negotiations with hostage taker, TVJ reports.
Update 3:06AM – Final two passengers released, crew remains hostage.
Update 3:07AM – Canjet releases statement (Canjet)
Update 3:23AM – Jamaica’s Info Minister Daryl Vaz: 2 crew members have locked themselves in the cockpit. Gunman’s father at scene.
Update 3:32AM – Gunman is acting alone. Unstable young man with personal problems in his life. Not acting as part of any international organisation (via Nationwide Jamaica radio)
Update 3:35AM – Gunman refusing to come off. Reporters refusing to release “all they know” about young hostage. Gunman’s father and sister on the scene. Talk of initiating a ‘speedy end’ to the situation (via Nationwide Jamaica radio)
Update 3:38AM – Gunman’s demand is to go to Cuba (CNN)
Update 4:11AM – Awaiting further news out of Jamaica. Silence on wires, nothing further from sources.
Update 4:30 AM – Gunman and crew remain on board. Editor off. Next major update at 8AM, unless situation changes violently.
Final update – Military and police went aboard aircraft and captured gunman after negotiations failed. The gunman is twenty-one years old and described as mentally unstable. No one was killed or injured in the ordeal (ABC7)
Stephen Fray is being described as jovial, timid and reserved by friends and members of his community in Albion, Montego Bay. The 21 year old is a former student of the Mount Alvernia Preparatory School, Cornwall College and graduated from the Montego Bay Community College last year.
He lives with his father and grandmother in the quiet residential Albion community and is viewed by neighbours as polite and helpful.
But the Gleaner Power 106 News has learnt that he has been dealing with serious personal issues. Its understood that he was upset because of a failed relationship.
Fray was an avid track and field athlete while he attended Mount Alvernia Prep and excelled at academics. The Fray family is renowned for business in Montego Bay.
Stephen’s grandfather once operated a furniture store, and some of his other relatives are said to operate their own businesses.Its understood that Stephen’s father is a licensed firearm holder and his sister is employed to the Sangster International Airport (Gleaner).
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