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10 September 2009 

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Mexico: Plane Hijacker Believed He Was on 'Divine' Mission

09 September 2009

A hijacked Aeromexico plane on the tarmac at Mexico City's international airport, 09 Sep 2009
A hijacked Aeromexico plane on the tarmac at Mexico City's international airport, 09 Sep 2009
Mexican officials say a Bolivian man claiming to have received a divine revelation was behind Wednesday's brief hijacking of an AeroMexico commercial jet from the resort city of Cancun to Mexico City.

Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna says the 44-year-old man told police he is a pastor and that he hijacked the plane because Wednesday's date, 9-9-09, had meaning for him. Garcia Luna said the man told authorities he wanted to warn Mexican President Felipe Calderon of an impending earthquake.

As the incident ended, all 112 passengers and crew left the plane unharmed and police stormed the jet, taking away as many as eight men in handcuffs. Authorities later said there was only one hijacker.

Earlier reports said several hijackers had demanded to speak to President Calderon and threatened to blow up the jet unless they were allowed to talk to him. Police said they did not find explosives on board.

President Calderon was already at the airport, apparently on an unrelated trip. There was no indication he spoke with the suspect, who officials said was a drug addict and alcoholic who has lived in Mexico for 17 years.

One passenger was quoted as saying she did not know the flight had been hijacked until the plane landed in the Mexican capital.

A U.S. official initially said American, French and Mexican citizens were among those on board the flight. But the State Department later said in a statement it was attempting to obtain a list of passengers and that U.S. officials could not confirm whether Americans were aboard.

The State Department also said consular employees were en route to the airport in Mexico City to assist any U.S. passengers.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters. 

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