ABC Evening News for Thursday, Oct 20, 1977
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(Studio) Frontier jet is hijacked this morning in Nebraska by Thomas Hannan; plane makes refueling stop in Kansas City, Missouri, and flies to Atlanta, where Hannan's parents try to persuade him to give up.
REPORTER: Barbara Walters
(No location given) Hijacking began in early morning when Hannan forced way aboard Frontier jet at Grand Island, Nebraska, airport, threatening security personnel with shotgun. Hannan graduated from Grand Island Central Catholic high school 11 years ago. Hijacker's demands noted, include release from Georgia prison of alleged homosexual friend, George Stewart. [Security GUARD - Dep. sheriff Roy Jensen] describes how Hannan forced way onto jet.] [MAN - had man trained in hostage negotiations talking to hijacker, who responded and listened, but is very determined.] Old friend of Hannan's happened to be on plane and convinced him to release women and children; man with heart condition and friend are also released. [WOMAN - says stewardess 1st told them it was hijacking, but Hannan had already walked up and down aisles without speaking to anyone. Notes mood of passengers was calm.] Hannan has refused offers of FBI and airline officials to exchange selves for hostages, and after 2 hrs. in Kansas City plane is ordered to Atlanta.
REPORTER: Ron Miller
(Atlanta, Georgia) Is just after noon when jet makes landing at Hartsfield International Airport. FBI begins negotiations via radio; Hannan repeats demands for ransom money and Stewart's release from Fulton Cnty. jail. Money is waiting at airport, Stewart isn't. Officials say Hannan and Stewart were arrested for bank robbery. Hannan freed on bond, but Stewart kept in jail; Stewart is described by police as rabid anti-Semite who was once arrested for carrying concealed weapon while wearing Nazi uniform. Other details of day's events in hijacking noted. Negotiations continue and Hannan's parents are flown here from Nebraska.
REPORTER: Bob Sirkin
(Studio) 2 stewardesses have now been released; reporter Bettina Gregory says hijacker now says he'd like to find honorable way out. In DC, FBI, White House and Justice Department keep in close contact with hijacking events. Govt. must be flexible, but in general, administration policy is not to negotiate as long as hostages still held. Reporter Sam Donaldson asks Attorney General Bell if government will give in. (Film shown.) [BELL - doesn't give in easily, because once it's done it will set precedent. However, won't say what would be done till all facts known.]
REPORTER: Tom Jarriel
(DC National Airport) Report on security measures at airports; differences in degree of security at smaller airports, like one at Charlottesville, Virginia, and at larger ones, like Washington, DC National Regulations with regard to airport security were enacted in January, 1973; statistics of attempted and successful hijackings before and after regulations, and of firearms discovered in 1976, noted.
REPORTER: Tim O'Brien
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