Suspect arrested after hijacking Mexican airliner

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

File photo of an Aeroméxico, Boeing 737.
Image: Makaristos.

The Mexican government has said that an Aeroméxico Boeing-737, flight 576 from Cancun, was hijacked and landed safely at Mexico City International Airport in Mexico City.

The plane was traveling from Cancun to Mexico City. The situation ended without incident and all passengers and crew on board the aircraft were able to leave safely. All hijackers were arrested after Mexican security forces boarded the plane.

The incident began just after 1:30 p.m. (CDT) one man took control of the plane and demanded to speak to Felipe Calderon, Mexico's president. The hijacker said that if his demand was not met, he would blow up the plane. Earlier reports had stated there were explosives on board the aircraft, but none were found. Five people were initially detained without incident.

A short time later, four of the detained men were released without being charged. Authorities identified the sole hijacker as Jose Mar Flores, 44, who is being described as an alcoholic, drug addicted, religious fanatic. He claims he was on a mission to warn Mexico that an earthquake was going to strike the country. Flores said that the significance of the date, 9/9/09, the reverse of 666, was the reason why he hijacked the plane. Reports say he was carrying a box that he described as a bomb and would detonate it if his demand to speak to Calderon about the quake was not met.

104 people were on board the plane, but all passengers and crew aboard the aircraft have left it safely. The airport remained open while the plane was dealt with on an emergency runway.

Calderon was inside the airport's presidential hanger waiting to depart when the plane landed. His flight was canceled.


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