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Hijacking description
Last updated: 24 October 2017
Status:
Date:Saturday 2 May 1981
Type:Silhouette image of generic B732 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 737-248C
Operator:Aer Lingus
Registration: EI-ASD
C/n / msn: 20219/208
First flight: 1969-09-26 (11 years 7 months)
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 113
Airplane damage: None
Location:Le Touquet Airport (LTQ) (   France)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Dublin Airport (DUB/EIDW), Ireland
Destination airport:London-Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL), United Kingdom
Flightnumber:EI164
Narrative:
While descending towards London-Heathrow, a former Trappist monk went into the toilet and doused himself in petrol. The 55-year-old Australian named Laurence James Downey hijacked the aircraft, which diverted to Le Touquet in France.
The hijacker was obsessed with the so-called Third Secret of Fátima. In 1917 Our Lady of Fátima is said to have appeared before three Portuguese children and shared with them three secrets. At the time of the hijacking, the third secret was known only to the Pope and other senior figures in the Catholic Church. The hijacker called on the Vatican to release this secret to the public.
After an eight-hour standoff, during which time 11 were released, French special forces stormed the plane and apprehended Downey. No shots were fired and nobody was injured. In February 1983, the hijacker was sentenced to five years imprisonment for air piracy.

Classification:
Hijack
Plane stormed

Sources:
» Wikipedia: Aer Lingus flight 164
» ’81 plane hijacker reveals Fatima obsession
» Tony Doyle`(E-mail 13 Feb 2016)


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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Dublin Airport to London-Heathrow Airport as the crow flies is 446 km (278 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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