AP NEWS
Related topics

Two Slain Americans Heading To United States For Visits With AM-Airport Attacks

December 28, 1985

Undated (AP) _ At least three Americans were killed in Friday’s terrorist attack at Rome’s airport, including one traveling home for his father’s birthday and another accompanying her family for a visit with friends and family.

At least 14 Americans were wounded in the assault at Leonardo da Vinci Airport.

Natasha Simpson, 11-year-old daughter of Victor Simpson, The Associated Press news editor in Rome; John Buonocore Jr., 20; and Don Maland, 30, of New Port Richey, Fla., were among 13 killed when Arab terrorists attacked crowds of holiday travelers at the check-in counters of the Israeli airline, El Al, a State Department spokeswoman said.

Italian police preliminarily identified one of the dead as Fredrick Gage of Madison, giving no nationality or other information. U.S. Embassy spokesman Mark Dillen said it appeared he was an American, but there had been no confirmation.

In Wisconsin, officials of Madison Newspapers Inc., which publishes The Capital Times, said Frederick K. Gage, 29, a member of the board of directors of The Capital Times Co., was known to be traveling in Italy.

Capital Times publisher Fredrick Miller, contacted by telephone in Florence, Italy, said Gage had left his hotel in Rome on Friday morning for the airport to catch a plane for Amsterdam.

The El Al counter at the Vienna airport was also attacked and at least 16 people were killed and 117 wounded in the simultaneous assaults.

No Americans had been identified as being among the victims in Vienna.

Simpson, en route to New York with his family, and his 9-year-old son, Michael, were wounded and hospitalized in satisfactory condition. His wife, Daniela, who works for Time magazine, escaped injury.

Natasha, a straight-A student in the sixth grade of Marymount International School in Rome, had expressed fears Thursday about traveling, saying, ″I hope we don’t get hijacked.″

The Simpsons had planned to go skiing and visit relatives and friends in the United States. Simpson has worked in Italy for The AP sice 1972.

Buonocore was an exchange student in Italy from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., Debbie Cavin, a State Department spokeswoman, said.

His brother, Todd, 16, said the family had not been officially notified of his older brother’s death when they heard the news.

″My mother saw it on television and proceeded to call our senator’s office,″ he said. Final confirmation was not made until about 1:45 p.m. EST, more than 10 hours after the attack.

″We’re taking it, I guess as best as we could,″ said Buonocore. ″We’re trying to stick together and go on living.″

John Buonocore was in Europe for his semester abroad program and had gone to Sorrento, Italy, to visit with a relative for the holidays, said Diana Maxmin, a neighbor who answered the family’s telephone.

″He was on his way home today, to Wilmington, because today’s his father’s birthday,″ Ms. Maxmin said.

Mark Maland, 37, whose brother, Don, was killed in the attack, was among those wounded.

When the assault began, ″We could hear the pop,″ Maland, an attorney from Elizabeth City, N.C., said in an interview with NBC News from his hospital bed.

″But it kept going pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, and you thought, ‘Shoot them. Shoot them. Kill them.’

″Finally the shooting stopped and nobody moved and nobody moved, and then my brother, he yelled to me and said, ‘Huh, Mark, are you OK.’ And I said I had been hit in the leg,″ Maland said.

Mrs. Simpson, 40, said she heard machine-gun bursts and then silence.

″I rushed in to screams and cries and saw my husband dripping blood from his hand and my son on the floor shot in the stomach. They are both okay. But I lost my 11-year-old daughter,″ she said.

PX-12-28-85 0000EST

AP RADIO
Update hourly