Singapore

1991: Commandos storm plane, terrorists shot dead

On March 26, four Pakistani terrorists hijacked Singapore Airlines Flight SQ117, shortly after take-off from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.

The aircraft had 114 other passengers and 11 crew members.

When the plane landed at Changi Airport, the hijackers demanded the release of several prisoners in Pakistan, including former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto's husband, Mr Asif Ali Zardari.

They also asked that the plane be refuelled and flown to Australia.

If their demands were not met, they threatened to kill one hostage every 10 minutes.

The Pakistani government refused the hijackers' demands.
The plane was taxied to a secluded corner of Changi Airport and negotiations were conducted by a team of specially trained police officers led by Superintendent Foo Kia Juah, director of public affairs of the Singapore Police Force.

After eight hours, the negotiations started to break down.

The terrorists then gave the Government five minutes to meet their demands. They doused the aircraft seats and cockpit with alcohol, and even lit a rolled-up newspaper.

SWIFT RESCUE: It took only 30 seconds for SAF commandos to sweep in and save the hostages. Passengers were evacuated via emergency exit chutes.

At 6.50am, about 20 SAF commandos climbed the aircraft and swiftly entered the plane.
They shot the four terrorists dead and minutes later, passengers were evacuated via emergency exit chutes. Many of them were crying with relief.

The rescue operation was over in 30 seconds.

OVER AT LAST: Passengers and their loved ones shed tears of relief at the end of the eight-hour hostage ordeal. None of the passengers were injured.

None of the hostages was hurt, except for two flight stewards who had been pushed out of the aircraft by the terrorists.

- Arul John

Singapore HistoryhijackterrorismSingapore AirlinesUncategorisedSingapore Armed Forces