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|Date||September 5, 1986|
|Site||Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan |
|Aircraft type||Boeing 747-121|
|Aircraft name||Clipper Empress of the Seas|
|Operator||Pan American World Airways|
|Flight origin||Sahar International Airport|
|Stopover|| Jinnah International Airport|
|Last stopover|| Frankfurt am Main Airport|
Frankfurt am Main, West Germany
|Destination|| John F. Kennedy Int'l Airport|
New York, United States
On September 5, 1986, the Boeing 747-121 serving the flight was hijacked while on the ground at Karachi by four armed Palestinian men of the Abu Nidal Organization. The aircraft, with 360 passengers on board, had just arrived from Bombay. A grand jury later concluded that the militants were planning to use the hijacked airliner to pick up Palestinian prisoners in both Cyprus and Israel.
More than twenty passengers were killed during the hijacking, including nationals from India, the United States, Pakistan, and Mexico. All the hijackers were arrested and sentenced to death in Pakistan. However, the sentences were later commuted to life in prison. Neerja Bhanot, head attendant on the flight, was shot dead and posthumously received the highest civil award Tamgha-e-Pakistan from Pakistan as well as India's highest peacetime award for bravery, the Ashok Chakra Award, for her efforts to save passengers' lives.