1. A Family Affair

1. A Family Affair

Author Topaz ?
Collection Hijacked

On March 8, 1988, a Russian woman tried to turn skyjacking into a family affair. 51 years old, Ninel Ovechkin and ten of her 11 children, aged 9 to 32, attempted to commandeer a Tu 154 flight en route from Irkutsk to Leningrad in an attempt to escape the USSR. The Ovechkins were a family of musicians: the seven sons had formed a jazz band called “The Seven Simeons” and participated in competitions across the country. The crew convinced the family that the plane should be landed in Finland for refueling. In reality, the pilot landed the plane on a military airfield in the USSR, where it was stormed by soldiers. In a tragic turn of events, nine people, including Ninel Ovechkin and three of her sons, died.

Airplane hijackings reached peak numbers in the 1960s and 1970s. Since the September 11 attacks in the United States, new rules have made it more difficult for terrorists to take over planes. Hijackings do still happen, however: since 2001, ten planes have been seized around the world.

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