Fatal U.S. Hijacking Events Since 1970

The following are the known fatal hijacking events involving a U.S. carrier or a flight arriving or departing the U.S. where at least one passenger was killed.

    4 October 1971; Big Brother Aircraft Company; Jacksonville, FL: Two hijackers, commandeered a chartered aircraft that was on a planned flight to Atlanta, and forced the two pilots, as well as a hostage to fly to Cuba. One of the pilost, Brent Downs, convinced the hijackers that the plane needed to refuel, and the plane landed in Jacksonville, FL.

    While on the ground, after unsuccessfully negotiating with the FBI to refuel the aircraft, the FBI opened fire on the aircraft. One of the hijackers killed the pilot Downs, his hostage (who was also the hijacker's wife) and himself.The other hijacker surrendered, but was not convicted of hijacking the aircraft.
    This event did not involve an airliner, but is included because of the role the FBI played in the hijacking.
    For more on this event, visit the site 58November.com

  1. 5 July 1972; Pacific Southwest 737-200; San Francisco, CA: The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from Sacramento to San Francisco when shortly before landing it was hijacked by two armed men who intended to have the aircraft fly to the Soviet Union. After landing in San Francisco, the aircraft was directed to an isolated part of the airport while the hijackers negotiated with authorities. Later, an armed FBI agent posing as the pilot that would fly the aircraft to the Soviet Union entered the aircraft while, unknown to the hijackers, three other armed FBI agents were able to position themselves near the front entry door. As the three outside FBI agents began to climb the stairs to enter the aircraft, a gun battle broke out which resulted in the deaths of both of the hijackers and one of the 77 passengers. Two other passengers were wounded, but survived. None of the seven crew members were injured.
  2. 17 December 1973, Pan Am 747, Rome, Italy: While the aircraft was at the gate loading passengers, a group of terrorists shot at the plane and threw incendiary grenades into the aircraft, killing 30. The terrorists later hijacked a nearby Lufthansa 737.
    747 events involving passenger fatalities

  3. 14 June 1985; TWA 727 Athens, Greece: The aircraft was hijacked and the 153 crew and passengers were taken hostage for several days. A U.S. military member was killed by the hijackers during this time.

  4. 5 September 1986; Pan Am 747; Karachi, Pakistan: Four hijackers attempted to take control of the aircraft while it was on the ground, but the flight crew departed through the cockpit escape hatch. About 16 passengers were killed before the hijacking ended.

  5. 7 December 1987; Pacific Southwest Airlines BAe146-200; near San Luis Obispo, CA: A recently fired USAir employee used his invalidated credentials to board the aircraft with a pistol and apparently killed his former manager and both pilots (USAir had recently purchased PSA). All five crew members and the 37 other passengers were killed.

  6. 11 September 2001; American Airlines 767 (Flight 11); World Trade Center, New York: The aircraft was on a flight from Boston to Los Angeles when it was hijacked and flown into one of the World Trade Center Towers. Another jet, a United Airlines 767, was hijacked and crashed into the other tower. Both towers later collapsed. All 11 crew members, 76 passengers, and five hijackers were killed, as were untold numbers of people on the ground.
    Fatal American Airlines Events
    Fatal 767 Events
    Attack on New York and Washington

  7. 11 September 2001; United Airlines 767 (Flight 175); World Trade Center, New York: The aircraft was on a flight from Boston to Los Angeles when it was hijacked and flown into one of the World Trade Center Towers. Another jet, an American Airlines 767, was hijacked and flown into the other tower. Both towers later collapsed. All nine crew members, 51 passengers, and five hijackers were killed, as were untold numbers of people on the ground.
    Fatal United Airlines Events
    Fatal 767 Events
    Attack on New York and Washington

  8. 11 September 2001; American Airlines 757 (Flight 77); The Pentagon, Arlington, VA: The aircraft was on a flight from Dulles to Los Angeles when it was hijacked and flown into the Pentagon, collapsing part of the structure. All six crewmembers, 53 passengers, and five hijackers were killed.
    Fatal American Airlines Events
    Fatal 757 Events
    Attack on New York and Washington

  9. 11 September 2001; United Airlines 757 (Flight 93); near Pittsburgh, PA: The aircraft was on a flight from Newark to San Francisco when it was hijacked. However, the aircraft crashed outside Pittsburgh. All seven crewmembers, 34 passengers, and four hijackers were killed.
    Fatal American Airlines Events
    Fatal 757 Events
    Attack on New York and Washington

Other items of interest:

Fatal U.S. Hijacking Events
http://airsafe.com/events/hijack.htm -- Revised: 5 February 2013