On this day in 1986

On this day in 1986, a Pan American World Airways flight that was flying from Sahar International Airport in Bombay India, to Frankfurt Airport in Frankfurt West Germany via Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan with 358 people on board was hijacked at Karachi International Airport.

The Boeing 747 aircraft was hijacked while on the ground at Karachi by four armed Palestinian men of the Abu Nidal Organization.

The aircraft, with 360 passengers on board, had just arrived from Bombay.

A grand jury later concluded that the militants were planning to use the hijacked plane to pick up Palestinian prisoners in both Cyprus and Israel.

Forty-three passengers were injured or killed during the hijacking, including nationals from India, the United States, Pakistan, and Mexico.

All the hijackers were arrested and sentenced to death in Pakistan.

However, the sentences were later commuted to life in prison.

Neerja Bhanot, head attendant on the flight, posthumously received India’s highest peacetime award for bravery, the Ashok Chakra Award for her efforts to save passengers’ lives during the course of the hijacking.