Briton Ordered Out of West Germany Hijacks Plane, Police Say
LONDON (AP) _ A Briton pretending to be armed hijacked a Lufthansa jetliner Friday and demanded to fly to Hawaii, but surrendered after an hour on the ground at Heathrow Airport, authorities reported.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, waiting to fly to a Common Market summit in Brussels, watched through binoculars from the VIP lounge as armed police ringed the West German jet when it landed.
Police said the hijacker, Nicholas Shipley, 24, had been ordered out of West Germany on Thursday after flying to Hamburg without a passport or money.
West German authorities put him on Friday’s Lufthansa Flight 040 from Hamburg to London.
Civil aviation authorities said that, 15 minutes before the Boeing 737 was due to land, the hijacker sent word to the pilot that he had a gun. Then he walked into the cockpit and ordered the pilot to land in London, its scheduled destination.
Passenger John Vetterbee, a British businessman, said the hijacker announced over the plane’s intercom later: ″I’ve taken over the plane. We’re going to Honolulu.″
The plane landed at Heathrow, and the airport was switched to single-runway operation. Dozens of flights, including Mrs. Thatcher’s, were delayed for up to an hour while police negotiators spoke to the hijacker in the cockpit through an emergency intercom.
Police said Shipley surrendered quietly and none of the 108 passengers or six crew members was injured. They disembarked after police had boarded the aircraft and escorted Shipley off.
Scotland Yard spokeswoman Frances Walker told The Associated Press that Shipley ″appeared to be mentally ill and did not seem to have any terrorist motive.″