Families Await Word On Loved Ones Aboard Seized Jet With AM-Pakistan-Hijack Bjt
Undated (AP) _ Families of passengers aboard the Pan Am jumbo jet seized in Pakistan anxiously awaited word of their loved ones Friday, while relatives of a California man killed before a shootout ended the siege mourned his death.
The slain American, Rajesh Kumar of Huntington Beach, Calif., had just become an American citizen and had flown to India to bring relatives to the United States, said Di Patel, 29, Kumar’s cousin.
″He had gone over for a holiday, and he wanted to bring his aunt and grandmother here to show them a free country - a free life,″ Patel said.
Kumar, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Kenya, was killed early in the hijacking and thrown from the plane onto the tarmac. He died later in a hospital.
The family was awaiting word on the aunt and grandmother, who were aboard the plane when hijackers sprayed the cabin with gunfire, wounding dozens. Five passengers and two hijackers were reported killed.
The plane, Pan American World Airways Flight 73, stopped in Karachi, Pakistan, from Bombay, India, bound for New York via Frankfurt, West Germany, when it was seized late Friday night. Pan Am said 41 Americans were on board.
In Hinckley, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb, the family of four passengers said their relatives were injured jumping from the Boeing 747 when the shooting broke out.
″He’s safe, and he’s fine, and I’m happy,″ said Surayya Ahmed after learning that her husband, Saleem, her sister, the sister’s nephew and his wife had survived.
Her husband and sister, Fahmida Zaidi, were slightly injured, but the nephew, Mohammed Tariq, and Tariq’s wife, Samina, required hospitalization, she said.
In Duncan, Okla., Syed Hamid, a Halliburton Services employee, said his wife, Zeba, their son, Kamran, 6, and their daughter, Jazia, 2, were scheduled to be on Flight 73, and Halliburton spokesman said all were safe.
Also aboard the plane was Catherine Dumas of Livingston, N.J., an oriental rug dealer who was returning to the United States.
She said she was curled up in her seat in ″a fetal position″ when the gunfire broke out but was uninjured.
She said before she left on the trip, her family expressed concern for her safety, and she recalled the post office shootings in Edmond, Okla., in which 14 workers were killed by a gunman.
″I have a very fatalistic attitude: When your time is up, your time is up,″ Mrs. Dumas said in an interview from Pakistan with NBC News.