http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/htm ... ARMED_.asp
Montego Bay hijacker disarmed
Monday, April 20, 2009
THE gunman who last night hijacked a CanJet charter flight with 159 passengers and eight crew members on board at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay was disarmed by security forces who stormed the plane.
Minister of Information Daryl Vaz named the "mentally challenged" hijacker as 20-year-old Stephen Fray from Montego Bay.
CanJet flight number 918 was destined for Halifax, Canada, with a scheduled stop in Santa Clara, Cuba.
Early this morning, police reported that the gunman released all passengers and two members of the crew shortly after staging the hijack.
"The aircraft has been isolated and the airport will continue normal operations," the police said, adding that no member of the aircraft's crew or any passengers have been hurt.
A news release from the police at approximately 3:45 am said that the they have debriefed all the passengers who have been placed in local hotels.
"Following their debriefing, the passengers were addressed by Prime Minister Bruce Golding who assured them that everything possible was being done to enable them to return home as early as possible," the police said.
Last night, airport sources said the man showed airport personnel a gun when they tried to prevent him from entering a restricted area.
The hijack took place at approximately 10:20 pm, just about the same time that Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston (over 130 miles south-east of Montego Bay) on a two-day working visit during which he will address a special session of Parliament this afternoon.
It was not clear up to press time what demands the hijacker had made, however, CNN last night reported on its website that Christen Gosslin, a passenger on the flight, told his father that the gunman demanded cash from the passengers.
"The guy wanted to have all their money," said Gosslin's father, Alphonse. "He (my son) told his girlfriend to take all the money and just take her passport and credit card and put it in her back pocket," the CNN report said.
The network reported that Gosslin, who was part of a 25-person wedding party, spoke to his father in New Brunswick, Canada, while waiting for another flight.
"I didn't ask them too many questions; I was more concerned for their safety," CNN reported the father as saying. "They were a bit shaken up. It was quite an experience."
CNN also reported that another passenger, Brenda Grenier, called her husband in Nova Scotia, Canada and said a man had apparently sneaked aboard the plane while airport workers were loading bags.
The incident has turned the spotlight on security at the airport which was privatised late 2002 to an international consortium led by Canadian Vancouver Airports Services, which, under a 30-year concession, operates as MBJ Airports Ltd.
At the time of the privatisation, the Jamaican Government had projected to spend US$127 million on the Sangster development project which is scheduled to run up to 2022.
Sangster is one of the largest, busiest and most modern airports in the Caribbean.
CanJet Airlines, a division of IMP Group Limited in Halifax, Nova Scotia - one of Canada's largest aviation and aerospace companies - was established in 1999 and started operations on September 5, 2000. It was merged with Canada 3000 in May 2001 shortly before that firm went into bankruptcy.
The airline was successfully relaunched on June 20, 2002 as an independent carrier and quickly expanded, offering full-service charters.