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Czechoslovak Teen-Agers Surrender After Hijacking Plane

March 29, 1989

The men who hijacked a Hungarian airliner in Pargue surrendered shortly after landing in Frankfurt today, a spokesman for the airport said.(0622EST) ............................................................................

FRANKFURT, West Germany (AP) _ Two armed Czechoslovak teen-agers hijacked a jet in Prague today and reportedly demanded it fly to the United States. They surrendered and freed their hostages - including a Hungarian diplomat - after the plane landed in Frankfurt.

No injuries were reported among the 10 passengers and at least four crew members aboard the hijacked Hungarian plane when it reached Frankfurt, officials said.

The hijackers released 82 passengers at Prague airport after speaking with Lajos Taba, the Hungarian consul-general, the Hungarian news agency MTI said. It said Taba traded himself for the passengers and was among those freed in Frankfurt.

The gunmen surrendered less than three hours after seizing the Soviet-made Tupolev-154 owned by Hungary’s Malev Airlines.

MTI said the hijackers demanded to be taken to the United States, but West German officials said the gunmen’s motives were not known.

The hijackers, who were armed with guns and carried a fake hand grenade, gave up at Frankfurt Airport when U.S. officials prevented the plane from taxiing onto adjoining U.S. military base.

A witness said a policeman collapsed during a shootout at Prague airport when the hijackers took a hostage and forced their way onto the aircraft.

Hans Neitze, chief spokesman for Frankfurt police, said: ″We found the emptied casing of a bullet, and we assume that there was at least one shot fired on the aircraft.″ He offered no further details.

Criminal investigator Roland Desch said the hijackers initially demanded to be flown ″overseas″ but were convinced by the airliner’s crew that the plane could not fly that far. The plane then went to Frankfurt.

″As far as I know, all passengers are safe. It ended without bloodshed,″ airport spokesman Hans Rainer Otto said. Frankfurt police spokesman Karl-Heinz Wagner also said there were no injuries among those aboard the plane.

Wagner said the youths were Czechoslovak citizens aged 15 and 16.

″We still don’t know what their motive was,″ Wagner said, adding the two youths were being questioned by police. He said the hijackers were armed with a sawed-off shotgun and a rifle and carried a fake grenade.

Wolfgang Schwalm, a spokesman at Frankfurt airport, said the hijackers gave up after officials refused to accept them at the U.S. Air Force’s Rhein-Main Base, which is located at the airport. U.S. officials confirmed that.

″The pair wanted to go to the American side of the airport,″ he told reporters. ″The Americans declined accepting them, and at that point the hijackers gave up.″ Desch said a military truck was driven onto the tarmac to prevent the jet from reaching the U.S. base.

A U.S. Air Force spokesman, Eberhard Bock, said the jet was halted on the taxiway.

″Two men got off the plane and they were held by U.S. military security police until the German police arrived and took over,″ Bock said.

The jet had been en route to Amsterdam, said Hungarian radio, which was monitored in Budapest. It did not say where the flight originated.

Witnesses at Prague’s airport said two hijackers forced their way into the VIP lounge and took a female airport employee hostage.

They then broke the glass wall of the airport building to get onto the tarmac where they aimed their guns at a policeman, said the witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

There was shooting and the policeman collapsed, but it was not clear whether he had been shot, the witnesses said. The two men forced their way onto the plane but left their hostage behind, the witnesses said.

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