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Hijacking description
Last updated: 22 October 2017
Status:
Date:Saturday 23 February 1985
Type:Silhouette image of generic B703 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 707-300
Operator:Middle East Airlines - MEA
Registration: registration unknown
C/n / msn:
First flight:
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Passengers:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants:
Total:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 104
Airplane damage: Minor
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location:Beirut International Airport (BEY) (   Lebanon)
Phase: Standing (STD)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Beirut International Airport (BEY/OLBA), Lebanon
Destination airport:Paris-Orly Airport (ORY/LFPO), France
Flightnumber:ME711
Narrative:
An airport security guard hijacked a Middle East Airlines Boeing 707 aircraft at Beirut International Airport while the aircraft was boarding for a flight to Paris, France. Reportedly, armed with a pistol and 23 grenades, the hijacker went aboard the aircraft shortly after the 104 passengers had finished boarding and apparently ordered the passengers to leave the aircraft via the escape chutes. As the passengers were in the process of exiting, panic broke out among Lebanese forces and Amal militiamen who were there seeing off a couple of their people. An exchange of gun fire took place between the hijacker and the
security guards, puncturing one of the wing fuel tanks. The hijacker then ordered the pilot to rev up the engines, the exhaust of which caught the fleeing passengers, killing one and injuring thirteen others.
The hijacker forced the pilot to fly to Larnaca, Cyprus where the aircraft landed, took off and then returned. During the entire episode, the plane's two doors were open and the escape chutes dangling.
AIso, jet fuel was leaking from the punctured wing tank. Reportedly, the hijacker took control of the aircraft in an effort to obtain better pay for airport security personnel and as a revolt against the high cost of living in Lebanon. The hijacker's supervisor convinced him to return to Beirut and release the aircraft by promising him safety and investigation of his claims. Upon landing in Beirut, the hijacker exited the aircraft, entered a motor vehicle provided by authorities and left the area.

Classification:
Hijack


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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 Beirut International Airport to Paris-Orly Airport as the crow flies is 3169 km (1980 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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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