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Former Lebanon Hijack Hostage Sues TWA

August 19, 1985

CHICAGO (AP) _ One of the men held hostage in Lebanon in June after the hijacking of a Trans World Airlines jet has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $1 million from TWA, alleging the airline failed to take adequate precautions to prevent the hijacking.

Peter Hill, 47, a tour director from Hoffman Estates, was returning from a trip to the Holy Land when TWA flight 847 from Athens to Rome was hijacked June 14. He was among 39 men held for 17 days. The other passengers were released earlier.

Hill said in a telephone interview today that the suit alleges that TWA failed to take adequate safety precautions despite alleged lax security and a history of terrorist activities at the Athens airport.

He said he still suffers nightmares several times a week and is being treated for the effects of the parasitic illness he contracted ″from the water or food or something.″

In his dreams, Hill said, ″I’m always kidnapped, always abused, and I always escape.″

The lawsuit seeks damages for Hill’s suffering during captivity, when he said he said he was repeatedly threatened with death, lost 25 pounds while being kept in a vermin-infested basement, and witnessed a shooting.

Niki Pappas, a secretary in TWA’s corporate communication department in New York, said the company was not aware of the lawsuit. ″We’ll have to check it out and get back to you,″ she said.

Hill was outspoken after his release in his opinions of the hijackers and his criticism of the spokesman selected by the hostages. He said he felt ″anger, frustration, a sense of being raped, ravaged by these animals (the hijackers). I think that (President) Reagan was absolutely right when he called them thugs, thieves and murderers because that’s what they were.″

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