A 22-year-old man armed with a semi-automatic handgun and knife took control of an aircraft last Thursday night at Kennedy Airport and held the pilot and co-pilot hostage for several hours before eventually releasing them and surrendering, authorities said.
The man walked onto the flight with a gun and took control of National Airlines Flight 19, scheduled to take off for Las Vegas, at about 10:15 p.m., setting off a panicked evacuation of the plane and a tense three-hour standoff with Port Authority Police, officials said.
The incident has also raised questions about the effectiveness of airport security.
All 143 passengers and seven crew members made it off the plane and were accounted for within a few minutes, said Port Authority spokesman Alan Hicks. The hijacker held the pilot until 12:30 a.m. and the co-pilot until 1 a.m., making several references to flying to Argentina or Antarctica, Hicks said.
For the next 2 1/2 hours the alleged hijacker remained in the cockpit by himself and several times hinted that he wanted the police to kill him, said Inspector Anthony Infante, who oversaw Port Authority Police efforts in the hostage situation.
The FBI identified the suspect as Aaron Amartei Commey of Milwaukee. He was charged with attempting to hijack an aircraft, an offense which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, said a spokesman from the U.S. Attorney
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