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Breaking News: Troops end Jamaica airliner hostage siege

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(CNN) -- Troops in Jamaica captured an armed man Monday who had barged onto a Canadian airliner, robbed passengers and held six crew members hostage, Jamaica Information Minister Daryl Vaz said.

The crew members were not harmed, Vaz said.

The hijacking suspect, described as a "mentally challenged" man in his 20s, had demanded that the Boeing 737 be flown to Cuba. The military captured him around 7 a.m. local time.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, meanwhile, told reporters that he planned to travel to Jamaica on Monday to meet with Prime Minister Bruce Golding. Harper has been following the airplane security breach and may meet with the plane's crew later today.

The CanJet flight from Halifax, Canada, had made a scheduled landing at Sangster International Airport in the Jamaican resort city of Montego Bay and was scheduled to continue to Santa Clara, Cuba.

"The hijacking is that from a mentally challenged youngster and not anything that would be of concern in terms of an international incident," Vaz said.

The suspect gained access to the plane Sunday night through the terminal in "a breach of security" that "will be investigated," Deputy Police Commissioner Owen Ellington told CNN.

The gunman fired a shot in the boarding bridge as he entered, said CanJet Airlines Vice President Kent Woodside. No one was hit.

CanJet Flight 918 was carrying 174 passengers and eight crew members, Woodside said. All the passengers were Canadian, he said.

The suspect took an undisclosed number of passengers and crew members hostage before releasing all the passengers and two crew members, said Elizabeth Scotton, a spokeswoman for the company that manages the airport.

Two of the six crew members who remained inside the plane Monday locked themselves in the cockpit, Vaz said.

The suspect's father and Golding, who flew in by helicopter, were among those who negotiated with the gunman before his capture. The country's minister of national security also was at hand.

The released passengers were taken to a hotel, and the airport was shut down for a time, Vaz said.

The airport reopened shortly after the standoff, Woodside said. A CanJet airliner was on its way to Jamaica, he said, to take passengers on to Cuba or back to Canada.

Christian Gosselin, a passenger on the flight, told his father that the gunman demanded cash from the plane's occupants. Vaz confirmed the account.

"The guy wanted to have all their money," said Gosselin's father, Alphonse. "He [my son] told his girlfriend to take all the money and just take her passport and credit card and put it in her back pocket."

Christian Gosselin was part of a 25-person wedding party headed to Cuba. He and his girlfriend were released by the hostage-taker, and they spoke to his father in New Brunswick, Canada, while waiting for another flight.

"I didn't ask them too many questions; I was more concerned for their safety," the father said. "They were a bit shaken up. It was quite an experience."

Another passenger, Brenda Grenier, called her husband and said the man apparently got aboard the plane as airport workers were loading bags.

Grenier and her daughter were safe, her husband said by phone from his home in Nova Scotia, Canada.

CNN's Joyce Joseph, Janet DiGiacomo, Jessica Jordan and Saeed Ahmed contributed to this report.

OUTAROAD FEATURE VIDEO OF THE MONTH



Comments (25)

 

Nelly:
Posted by Nelly | April 20, 2009 12:16 PM

Thank Goodness. I didnt want to hear any bad news from my BELOVED Island. Heard it was a 20 yr old derange Gunman named Stephen Fray.



lolita:
Posted by lolita | April 20, 2009 1:01 PM

well jamaica has joined the list of countries who had plane hi-jacks this is serious



bullhead:
Posted by bullhead | April 20, 2009 1:08 PM

Congrats to the Jamaica Defence Force commandos. You are among the best. Good job. Hijacker captured alive.



Protina:
Posted by Protina | April 20, 2009 1:53 PM

Glad no one was hurt........



dougie:
Posted by dougie | April 20, 2009 2:44 PM

Well the sh*t just hit the fan. Its not over yet...tons of bad press to come.



dahlia:
Posted by dahlia | April 20, 2009 3:21 PM

great work from the force. sorry to know, but this will be another bad mark on our country.



Me:
Posted by Me | April 20, 2009 3:34 PM

Just a point...the passengers were not robbed. They gave up money and passports in hope of a good outcome.



Point No Fingers:
Posted by Point No Fingers | April 20, 2009 4:05 PM

I am happy how this turned out. Quite instructive, this incident. Our prayers are with the those affected:
- Our fellow Jamaicans who work at the airport
- The Canadians
- Our government officials
- Members of the security forces
- The family of the hijacker.

May the government have the insight to implement measures to ensure that nothing like this happens again. I am thankful that this was just a mentally challenged youth and not an organized attack by trained professionals.

This is a clear indication that we need to be prepared on all fronts. It is also clear that only the Christ can save us. All praises be to God. Hail the King of all Kings, the Lord of all lords, the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah, Jesus the Christ. Repent fellow Jamaicans. All these close shaves show that we are indedd blessed.

Peace and love fellow Jamaicans and all other citizens of the world.



Toni:
Posted by Toni | April 20, 2009 4:14 PM

People use to say when 'it rains, it pours'. Jamaica can't get a rass break, always some a*shole ready to make us look bad in the public's eye. How could this asshole be so f**king stupid? Why the hell did this idiot hijack the plane, what reason , what f**king reason was behind this retarded plan? Can you imagine how the Jamaican image is going to be ripped apart because of this Insect's actions? The government has to do something more man, beef up security at the airport because i don't understand how this monkey got on the tar mat and how he did so and had a gun! Are u f**king kidding me? How the hell did this happen? People are now going to bad mouth us how we are third world and they are not coming here and all this crap! Just look how they are going to rip us apart... A*sh*le they should have shot his a*s.. RASS MAN!



bullhead:
Posted by bullhead | April 20, 2009 4:47 PM

Some people say the Jamaica Defence Force serves no purpose and should be disbanded or merged with the police because Jamaica have no known enemy that would mobilise an army against us. Such fools. And now they know the JDF is still relevant. These days hijackers, narco-traffickers and terrorist cells pose a far greater threat to small countries like ours, than conventional armies. And some of these threats will be home grown, you better believe it. Some people are so short-sighted.

Narco-traffickers are shaking the foundation of Mexico right now, and Haiti is awashed with weapons from their internal strife and continue to trade weapons for drugs with our crooks. Not to mention human trafficking and the threat of communicable diseases. Colombia the biggest producer of cocaine is just south of us. We are in a perilous security environment. Who says the JDF isn't relevant? The JDF present a different set of skills from regular police and offers options to the minister of national security to handle just about every type of security threats posed by small bands of heavily armed criminals and non-state paramilitary forces. Long live the JDF!



so what:
Posted by so what | April 20, 2009 5:50 PM

1)THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THEY ARE REALLY STRESSING THE FACT THAT THIS GUY IS MENTALLY CHALLENGE ON THE NEWS, SO THAT MIGHT HELP US ESCAPE SOME OF THE STEREO-TYPE OF THE HYJACKING ACROSS THE WORLD.
2)THE BAD NEWS IS...WE ARE TOO SMALL OF A ISLAND TO BE FACING THIS SORT OF NEGATIVE PRESS, IT WILL DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD IN ANY SITUATION.
3)ON THE OTHER HAND, AM NOT EXCUSING WHAT THIS YOUNG MAN HAS DONE, NEITHER IS THERE ANY JUSTIFICATION BUT I HONESTLY FEEL IT FOR PEOPLE SOMETIMES WHO DONT FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE ANYONE TO TALK TO, PEOPLE ARE FEELING HELPLESS AND HUNGRY AND STRESSED OUT AND ALL THEY NEED IS FOR SOMEONE TO LISTEN TO THEM INSTEAD OF JUDGING THEM. WHO KNOWS WHAT THIS GUY IS GOING THROUGH , I HAVE SEEN THE WAY PEOPLE TREAT EACH OTHER IN JAMAICA AND IT AINT EASY LIVING IN A PLACE THAT YOU ARE A NOBODY UNLESS YOU HAVE MONEY OR FAME OR BADNESS... SO PLEASE START SUPPORTING AND ACKNOWLEDGING EACH OTHER AND TAKE A MOMENT TO LISTEN TO SOMEONE EVEN IF WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY IS NOT IMPORTANT TO YOU , THATS THERAPY FOR SOME PEOPLE. WHO KNOWS..MAYBE IF SOMEONE HAD PAY THIS GUY A LITTLE ATTENTION THIS MIGHT NOT HAPPEN. I DONT KNOW THE REAL REASON FOR THIS BUT WHATEVER IT IS THAT LEAD HIM TO THIS GOTS TO BE BAD ENOUGH TO HIM...HE DOESNT REALLY SOUND LIKE A BAD PERSON, IT SOUND MORE TO ME LIKE SOMEONE WANTED TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL ARE JUST LOOKING FOR ATTENTION.



Toni:
Posted by Toni | April 20, 2009 6:57 PM

This young man is from a well to do family in Mobay, he was in need of NOTHING. Only mental help. I read that both his parents are doctors and his sister works at the Airport. There is no excuse for what this young man did, i was so upset that i had to vent. This is so embrassing for Jamamica and there is nothing but complete bad press that can come forth from this sitution. How the hell did he past through the airport with a GUN? Where were all the security personnal when he stormed onto the tar mat? There needs to be some form of answers provided for the public because this shit is out of wack. The Airport can't be this loose and slack!I don't see how the country can bounce back from such an incident, we have been called so many things but we held on to the knowledge that our planes and Airports where safe.



Trish:
Posted by Trish | April 20, 2009 7:57 PM

You know what is funny apart from the fact that this idoit made us look like complete cave people, is the fact that this animal was from HIGH SOCIETY, YES PEOPLE. He is from a well to do family, high colour and 'high class' . Maybe that's the reason for so many talks of him being ill. Please if this was a ghetto youth from Seaview or some other garrison the story and heading would be completely different. There would be no talk of him being mental ill and he wouldn't have been taken into custody and the 'high society' would have so much to say. Where are your voices now hipocrites? Tell me how this man got through the airport, That's the answer I want. He didn't have a ticket or anything so how him past checking, how him past all the metal detecter, how him past them? how him reach to board without a passport and a boarding past? Somebody answer me. How the hell him past? How the hell this happen Jamaica? All who work out there should be fired, them no serve no purpose! Blessing to the troops who prevented us from looking any worst...



Point No Fingers:
Posted by Point No Fingers | April 21, 2009 12:13 AM

Toni I feel your anger coming through. Still you need to broaden your vocabulary a little more so your venting will not help to reflect the very thing you are against and when you are angry you will have the presence of mind to speak kindly of others, especially those you are angry with. You have all right to be angry. I have used those words a lot in the past and occasionally they slip out because the habit ran so deep. Nonetheless I know you will work on this. It all starts in the mind. Trish I feel your anger towards high society and I tend to agree with you. Still people are just people. Whether you eat cornish hens or chicken back we all have the same inclinations, fears, joys needs and wants. Part of what we need to do as a people is to embrace all people. Who says Seaview will not lead Cherry Gardens? Bounty Killer et al have been influencing youths from every strata of society for more than a decade now even though it is in areas that we could use less of. The challenge is to see these people as the followers rather than the leaders. Think on this. Most of our national institutions are run by people from innercity and rural communities from lower middle class and poor families. This includes the JCF and the JDF. Upper society has the money but they do not dictate the direction the country goes. I encourage all my fellow Jamaicans to use every opportunity to show your best side and do not allow ourselves to get sucked into the situation. Remember individuals make crowds and even when birds fly in flocks they have to use their own wings. It is just easier when the numbers are larger. I am almost sure that you bloggers are younger than me. Take it from an older head. It is easier than you think. This is our country. Just keep putting your best foot out. I grew up in a poor family (still not rich or materially comfortable yet) and I still sympathize with the family of that troubled young man. God bless all of you. More power to you Outa Road crew.

Peace and love my friends



DASHAWN:
Posted by DASHAWN | April 21, 2009 5:24 AM

all am concern about is the security of the airports, thats to show, it could be worst, how the hell he got past security and on to the plane, that is why gun and so much drugs get in and out of jamaica, and this dude need a fine ass wooping, I dont think he is that crazy to know to hold up a plane, let people off and demand to go to cuba, this is just to a wake up call for the poor screening and security checks the airport does.



bentle:
Posted by bentle | April 21, 2009 11:26 AM

everybody a the airport should pack up inna barrel and dump inna the sea and get some reliable people to work in the aiport dem. a pure corruption a gwaan out a the airport dem. they paying more attention to rob the poor passingers dem who a come from abroad with them little luggages and over charge dem, more than how they securing the airport.jamaica government need to take back there airport and the country in there own hand and stop make private company own everything we got, is just there money them a watch not the people safety.if that don't happen unnu have more to come.walk good mi people.



Toni:
Posted by Toni | April 21, 2009 11:42 AM

@Point No Fingers.... I'll try to take your words into consideration, but yesterday after getting the news, my thoughts were just like I expressed them ABOVE! I was so upset because I could see the immediate ramification it would have on the already straining Jamaican Image. I was more so even more pissed at the lack of security at the airport and how this could have been an even more dangerous situation. This young man I don't think is mentally ill, I think by saying that maybe the government feels this will make the situation look alittle better. Whatever the case as to why this idiot felt the need to do this at a time when the Prime Minister of Canada was here, he has done something that should have great consequences and he should be punish to the full extent of the law. I agree with Trish and i don't feel she hates 'Uptown' people, she is merely pointing out if this had been a youth from the ghetto the voices would be shouting from the roof top, but since it's one of their own there isn't as much a a peep. Still many many question are out there and they need to be answered, Firstly 'How the hell he past through the airport with a gun and no ticket or passport?'



Kiwi:
Posted by Kiwi | April 21, 2009 11:42 AM

The big question here is how the hell this man got past security? so anyone can walk off the street and board a plane. They say this man is metally ill, Crapppp people close to and in the community notice no strange behaviour, so explain now that he has done wrong he his suddenly mentally ill. He had a gun where were the securities, metal detector, come people. The news said he forced his way past security he did not, add he done that attention would have been drawn to him, i don't think he would have reach on the plane. The man clearly walk freely to the plane. something is definitely wrong with this story.



Nelly:
Posted by Nelly | April 21, 2009 1:26 PM

I am not sure how he got past security either but i will take a guess and say, he borrowed (stole) his sister's credential.

I will agreed with Trish also. Different rules/laws/scenarios apply to Uptown folks from Inner City Folks.

I read an article in the Star once that pointed some of these differences out: A Inner City Girl is said to 'dash wey belly', a Uptown girl is said to 'have a procedure done'. Inner city men that takes women to hotel its called a "backroad slam", uptown men takes women to hotel its called "romantic getaway"...



Trish:
Posted by Trish | April 21, 2009 2:02 PM

@Nelly it's so true, I am here reading up on this young man and you should read his messages and look at his pics, there is no damn illness. His family where the ones who started to say he was 'mentally ill' If he was why the hell didn't the father keep his gun locked up? They should lock his asss up also. I am not making no excuse for this asshole because no one would make an excuse for a ghetto youth. Many of us go through hardship and I am not talking about not having hot water to bathe like this idiot, I am talking not being able to eat ,and pay our bills, REAL PROBLEMS, no one excuse us when we act out. I am not going to be suckered into this act. He is a CRIMNAL, A TERROIST. Mi nah pretty up nothing. Jamaica needs to wake up and uderstand that we are not all egual and this sitution shows it. Lock up him rass!



Nelly:
Posted by Nelly | April 21, 2009 3:07 PM

Yes Trish. All of a sudden he has a mental illness, all of a sudden. I read somewhere that a female said she saw him last week and he was fine. Has anyone ever heard of a MAD MAN graduating from two colleges yet? Yes, something when wrong, so let me come up with another possible conclusion for you. Because he is so privilege, in getting what he wants, went he wants it; he was rejected, whether by Girlfriend or Family. So he told the girl or his family that, if you leave me or dont give this to me; i am going to do something crazy like Hi-Jack a plane. That is all it is. And dont be surprise if his sentence is lite and this will be because his background/profile does not fit the criteria of a normal criminal and because his family has $$$$$.



Trish:
Posted by Trish | April 21, 2009 4:43 PM

NellY the same thing i was here thinking, how mad could he be to graduate from college? I read also where a past friend said she knew him well and she wasn't aware of him having mental problems.. See the bullshit is being ripped apart. They are trying to make excuse for this Crimnal and it's not fair, they are talking about how stress he was because his father and mother seprated, Lol If that's the case them most of we Jamaicans should be hijacking planes and acting stupid because I know that most of we don't grow up with two parent families... Bullshit man. Stop trying to find a reason for what this Animal did and place the blame soley on HIM. I know that he won't be punish, maybe he will get a stay at mad house but his ass will be let go! He will then get a first class ticket to some country... The best money and class can buy.... SMDH!



-Ak-:
Posted by -Ak- | April 21, 2009 6:32 PM

Why turn dis into a uptown vs downtown argument? that naw get us no where,the bigger problem is why Jamaica's airport's are lacking proper security.



Trish:
Posted by Trish | April 21, 2009 7:52 PM

Not turning it into a downtown vs uptown arugement, just stating the obvious... There are alot of things than can be seen from this situation, Airport security ( or lack thereof) is one but also how people of different class are treated! I address both in my comments!



sexyllisha:
Posted by sexyllisha | April 21, 2009 10:37 PM

i agree with everything being said the airport lacking the excuses for dude is whack but what i really mad about is the destination him was trying to reach why cuba it is only a boat ride away i was so mad when i heard where he was trying to go as for the airport staff the need to totally revamp them all hire all new people who wont take them job for granted cause they are all slackers how he got through them all not even one man spot him



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