3: Feuerzauber: Lufthansa Hijack, Part 1
October Thirteenth Nineteen seventy seven Lufthansa Flight L. H.. One eighty one nicknamed lunch short had begun boarding for a late morning flight. It was taking off from the the island of my Llorca just off the coast of Valencia Spain onboard five crew members and ninety passengers eighty six passengers had spent the week exploring the island beaches luxury resorts and Roman ruins ruins. The other four were up to something else around eleven A._M.. The plane rolled off the tarmac and set off into the sky for the pilot and crew of light was routine not but not for long what began as a normal flight changed completely as the aircraft in Marseilles the two terrorists the back of the plane to the front all of a sudden they all stood up welcome to covert a show about the shadowy world of international espionage and top secret military operations or the G._S.. JEANINE is a law enforcement agency very similar to our F._B._i.. Hostage Rescue Team so there are federal law enforcement group of force to deal with hostage situations kidnappings extortions blackmail. I'm Jamie Rennell and I'm going to take you inside. History's greatest special forces missions to learn about the brave save soldiers and operatives risked their lives to terminate the world's most wanted eliminate terrorist threats and protect countless innocent lives humidity listed Kitman we needed fishing party is a seven in three seven and the next was vehicles in case by also ladders shotguns pistols uniform coating all saints identify ourselves and everything getting elsewhere. We really wanted masking tape. A plane full of German citizens had been hijacked but who were these terrorists and what did they want to find out it would take a trip all over the world and a collaboration between two countries countries special forces the German G._S. G nine and the British Special Air Service Gist Unite cracking force but really very little operational experience on the s were developing these skills for Northern Ireland and from other little terrorist incidences on. I guess yes you get these guys on both Ms. Let's have an observer team on board to see if they can help us him and I think this is the story of how Special Forces came together and formed a rescue mission even as they followed hostages across a seven countries and six thousand miles. This is foiled Saalbach Lufthansa hijack part one <music> flight eight one L. E. H. on the lands at Pomme de to Frankfurt flight time today's two hours and fifteen minutes here by today showman for about thirty he minutes the plane continued on its normal course passing over Marseilles France on its way to Frankfurt as the plane veered north. The cabin crew prepared refreshments for the passengers ex U._S.. Navy Seals Stew Smith explained explained that air travel was different in the nineteen seventies were airline security was completely relaxed in the seventies and eighties. I mean he used to be able to get on an airplane without checking bags. No one would have metal detectors actors on you could smoke on planes. I mean there are so is a whole different world back then so it was a great asset for a terrorist organization to get publicity and they would get publicity whether it was ransom money or it was getting their prisoners who were held captive in some prison freed and that's typically what they use these airplanes for that relaxed security he soon translated into into full blown panic. The atmosphere changed sudden as four hijackers stood up wielding guns Chris McNab is the author of storming flight one eighty one the two terrorists the back of the plane to the front and all of a sudden they all stood up the screaming shouting the terrorist produce pistols hungry nights exposes the passengers realize instantly. This is a hijack situation before terrorists were calling themselves the commando Mando Martyr Halima a reference to an Air France hijacking in nineteen sixty three they heard the passengers to the back of the plane they wanted all of the hostages visible and they were not especially gentle. Stew Smith offered a comment on hostage violence. When the terrorists I takeover playing the first thing they want to do is create fear on that point and the way they do that is they usually grab some innocent bystander in this case a stewardess and they either kill them or they hit them so far that crushes their face blackens and I- bloodies knows one of the men was is the obvious leader of the group and made straight for the cockpit the co-pilot Organ V._A.? Tour was ordered to stand with the passengers captain. Yoga and Schumann was held at gunpoint. He simply Paul Johnson co-pilot outlet seat he still holding the gun he takes. The pilots puts it on his head and settles into copilot's seat. The plane is now his he announced to all the passengers that he had taken over the aircraft and that he was in control. This was a moment of sheer tariff era all the passengers. They knew that everything had changed their lives on the line. The crew knew that if they didn't comply the consequences would be laid on the passengers. They had no choice but to surrender the leader. Called himself captain martyr mock mood he ordered Captain Schumann to fly the plane to lanark Cyprus except that would add six hours to the planned flight. They didn't have nearly enough fuel so instead. They rerouted to roam the first destination for L._A.. Twenty eight one was Romance Court Rome Mahmoud issued some of his first demands it took about an hour to reach the destination and when the plane touched down the terrorists radio the Italian Italian control tower. Finally they revealed what they wanted the four hijackers aboard the flight all members of the A._F._l.. Pay Palestinian terrorist organization they all hug tra- records violence but all of phonetically committed committed to that cause and they were wanting to see through to the end the P._f._l._p.. Is the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The group gained notoriety during the nineteen seventies notably for a series of plane hijacks. So what were they hoping to gain seen from this attack. What they wanted was the release of two Palestinian terrorists along with eleven members of the notorious Baader Meinhof group also known as the Red Army Faction? This was a German left-wing group known for bombings and kidnappings within Germany. Many members of the Red Army Faction or R._A._F.. had been arrested and detained in Germany. The hijackers also demanded fifteen million dollars. If the demands weren't net the four terrorists onboard would blow up the plane killing. All of the hostages is key demands. Was We feel this plane or we didn't go to the Italian authorities compliant. Hey listeners. You got a beard. Do you stink. Do you need some help grooming yourself. I want you to check out Duke Canon Dot Com my latest box. 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Hostage Rescue Team so there are federal law enforcement group and they were tasked with creating a force to deal with hostage situations kidnappings kidnappings extortions blackmail all types of different crimes. They're trained in diving. They're trained in hair shooting. Coming out of helicopters fast roping rappelling trained sniper for operations in close quarters combat G._S.. Jeanine had only been established a few years earlier in nineteen seventy three. It was the direct result of a terrible attack on September fifth nineteen eighteen seventy two at the Munich Olympics Palestinian terrorists took Israeli athletes hostage at the Olympic Village. The German police and military launched a rescue raid but it went terribly wrong. All of the hostages ages were killed in the aftermath. Germany worked to create an anti terrorist group so that this wouldn't happen again if G._S.. Jeanine did end up reading the plane. It would be their first ever mission. The new team was led by forty eight year old Arik Vega Colonel Wagner was the driving force behind G._S.. He had some experience working with the British S._A._S.. <hes> also had experience working with with Israeli special forces groups and he was able to take a lot of that knowledge bring it into the federal law enforcement agency within Germany and create this souped up Swat team that primarily primarily focused on anti-terrorism Colonel Wagner not only was a great tactician and well respected by his men but he was also able to work the politics of the SWAT team G._S. Jeanine and work in a way that enabled them to get a lot more equipment despite vegas training and personal experience the fact remained G._S.. Jeanine had no experience with terror attacks and a plane Vegan realized that conducting a raid on a hijacked plane might be a little out of his depth so he put in a call one one thousand miles away in Great Britain Special Air Services Sergeant Berry Davies arrived home from training. We then finished any throw and we drove back in terrorist vehicles poke them up but bags and it was. Friday evening fog was set in quite badly and I just missed all the guys and I went home. He had just walked in the door when his beeper went off and he had to turn right back around to camp the office of the British Prime Minister was looking for him the head of the commentary team there and he informed me that we had to go to London and as a fog we're so bad we jumped in the helicopter and we flew in the fog or way to London. We jumped over the gate by I see a report and we did that. Show enough pentecost pulled up and got the two scruffy individuals we said look outside there we met several officials and also Alex How's Morrison major at the time and we went to Matan Barry was taken to number ten the government headquarters to find a variety of security heads waiting for him there he was debriefed about the situation with the German flight had security and my five six and all these various people the prime minister was stuck up North into faulk so you said for the ministers make a decision and we happen to know that the plane he just got re fueled. The state of the passengers were doing and they asked us we got this information and we said from Debbie. David Bullock was a former S._A._S.. Agent who is doing ops training and Dubai bullock had the most up to date info on the plane's whereabouts the information we had on the terrorist was basically Palestinian apart from not. We really didn't know anything else about the there was a a discussion about the leader who seemed to be really powerful although they didn't paint him to who actually was they felt that he was he would destroy the aircraft or he would and kill people and get his own way. Berry met with the G._S.. Jeanine troops would be conducting the raid. It was decided that Berry and another S._A._S. officer Sergeant Alastair Morrison would fly out and join the German forces in the rescue rescue attempt Nigel Elliott a former S._A._S.. Fighter explained why the German forces wanted S._A._S. Assistance Jess Jeanine cracking force but really very little <hes> operation from experience but the S._A._S. were developing all these <hes> skills from Northern Ireland and from other little terrorist incidences around the world <hes> I guess yes you know yeah. Let's let's list of these guys on both let's. Let's observe a team on board to see you know if they can help us out the S._A._S.. As various contingency plans one of those plans was to form a counter terrorist team and that already been done some years before we we tracked his tongue buildings aircraft practice on trains and we found the best way to get in place we developed equipment to replace found the best methods of snatching somebody from room and taking hostages event that room covert surveillance assaults salts with it with a big one how quickly can get in from the standpoint to actually closing with a terrorist and saving hostages the team now assembled the next step was to find out more information on the terrorists but as Chris McNab explained the more they learned the more concerned they became captain. Mahmoud's reeling was zoo hack okay. This was an intelligent on very dangerous terrorist he'd begun in refugee camps in the Middle East where he become radicalized but he's also a clever man he trained in Renault's engineering in the U.. K. Any length how to fly Cessna aircraft WBT but he was ruthless it also been involved in a cessation in London in one thousand nine hundred seventy seven and also in two assaults on police officers in the U._k.. This was a committed individual in Rome. The launch shoot finished refueling and took off now headed for Cyprus after the initial hijacked the flight is taken on this tortuous journey around the Middle East and the Mediterranean hopping from airport to airport some airports refuse entry of allow the aircraft to land some epochs refused London but the pilots still goes ahead and puts it down all the while the conditions in the plano worsening on the terrorist into getting more and more tense the plane landed landed in Cyprus and the local government took action a local Palestinian activists tried to speak with mock mood but negotiations went nowhere soon the plane took off again now headed towards the Middle East. They were denied landing rights in Beirut Damascus and Baghdad. Imagine the challenges facing Captain Shuman has to pilot the aircraft to destinations hunting pun destinations are refusing him entry and all the while with a Donovan his head on the threat of the aircraft being destroyed incredibly he holds his nerve. He manages to negotiate every single difficult situation he comes to on the way to Bahrain captain. Schumann was told at the airport was closed. They didn't have enough fuel to go anywhere else and so they landed anyway. Immediate plane was surrounded by troops Mahmoud was annoy he threatened the co-pilot until the Bahraini authorities allowed them to refuel then they took off once again. They were now headed to Dubai. It had been over fifteen hours since the hijack again. Hey folks. I WANNA take a second to talk about livestream. You know the average interest rate on credit cards right now is over nineteen percent A._p._R.. Do you know what yours is. I'm not a financial expert. 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M. dot com slash covert subject to credit approval rating includes zero point five zero zero percent auto pay discount terms and conditions apply and offers her subject to change without notice visit livestream dot com backslash covert for more information October Fifteenth Nineteen seventy seven day three the Lon shoot landed once again without permission Dubai airport. The terrorist ask for more supplies for the aircraft food water and garbage collection passengers were still tired and hot meanwhile Barry Davies and the rest of the G._S.. G Nine and S._A._S. teams had been assembled and prepared payer to fly out to Dubai landed in Dubai taken into custody again in Dubai because Qaeda's already warned them took our passports and that stage I think Reuters Reuters reporter and actually seen our passports and photograph them. That's only knew who we were and lucky for us while I was there was actually trying to get older the embassy in Dubai with no success they ah came walking past we shouted voices and he came running up and within ten minutes we had to buy military uniforms could rank and walk around. If we owned the Place Minister Vishnevsky he joined the team in Dubai to begin negotiations with the local United Arab Emirates government but despite his best efforts he couldn't convince them to let the G. S. G. Storm the plane Dubai instead insisted on using local troops troops ones who didn't have any specialist training only Berry Alastair you'll Rick Wagner and the sergeant major were allowed to land the rest of the G._S.. Jeanine team remained grounded when they landed in Dubai part of the political process for them to be able to even be in Dubai potentially doing operation is that they had to also work with the Dubai Defense Force <hes> their army <hes> so when you when you were a special forces group or Special Operations Group that goes and works with an indigenous army <hes> military you typically have strengths and weaknesses as with any joint operation the good streaks of this is that the lay of the land some of the customs you know any little thing that you can get from the indigenous force <hes> will only help view however they might not be as well trained as as you are so you can you can at least use them in a security level you know perimeter security and make things work and everybody feels like they're apart of this mission Davies Vega and the new team the control tower behind them sat the lunch shoot aisling in the heat. The lives of the people on board were in their hands. What exactly were they up against? What it's critical that you need to know <hes> not so much why the terrorist has taken the aircraft or hijack off? You need to know how many there all you need to know what type of weapons that got have. They got explosives okay and he's Eric. Communication communication is there a line of communication sets all willing to talk. They needed to know what was going on inside the plane but on the open tarmac there was no way to approach the plane without being spotted but then Davies says something unexpected expected happen as they were asking for supplies Captain Schumann said something on he asked for very specific cigarettes and this may be they lint by the pilots the cut me how to cigarettes Gretz indicated through two men two women on this was correct that information was everything now wegener and the team know exactly how many terrorists they're up against and they had to make a move soon the the day was nearly forty eight degrees Celsius or one hundred twenty degrees Fahrenheit the people on board were likely struggling with heat exhaustion both the passengers and the terrorists they were on the tarmac where it's one hundred twenty Tony Degrees terrorist tired passengers are tired thirsty hungry you name it hiring. Li stressed on that plane probably would have been a great time to oh attack that plane but for political reasons or for whatever reasons it it just didn't work out however they were vulnerable at that time and as a negotiator or as as the operation force you could tell that they were starting to weaken whether it was spiritually or physically or whatever you know that when it's one hundred twenty degrees in a cockpit passengers are having a hard time. The terrorists are also having a hard time. The heat gave the G._S.. Jeanine another lucky break the airport authorities trying to get the planes air conditioning system running that they put fuel into the wrong tank that meant the terrorists were forced to open the plane's doors for air leaving the interior exposed. They reveal themselves though to photographers who took pictures of them. They were all wearing our t shirts this help G._S._T.. Nine to identify defy them so that when they dawson the aircraft exactly who the terrorists and who the civilians the terrorists distinctive Chez Guevara t-shirts marked them out against other passengers this gave the team more vital insight but they were a long way off from being ready to storm the assault team didn't have any of the specialist gear they needed for the attack and neither did the army and Dubai. We made a list of what we needed. Fishing property was a seven three seven the next thing was vehicles you incase by and also ladders shotguns pistols uniform clothing that would all the same so we could identify ourselves and everything else we really wanted masking tape a shopping list. The military and Dubai didn't have the equipment but they did have a generous spending allowance for the mission Davies and Vaganov got everything they needed and more so they could concentrate on training. We then had to quote amasses with so much money Choko Camel L. it. Did we just go back into town and buy whatever you needed to bring whatever we needed. There were great. Actually they did just Paul equipment into. We've got to work it. Can people showing ladders to write my task was to train a team to actually take over the aircraft and for that I had myself alliston though he wasn't Terry trained at the time he's S._E._O.. Train so it's good enough we also had to nine vacant some agent and we also had about four or five guys from Divi. DIVI defense falls which David bullied have been training and it'll good the very good so we had a team then basically to train them explain to got booed simples possible. The team set off to work. I they sought off their shotguns so they would be easier to use in a confined space. They sprayed the equipment black for camouflage. The trickiest part was adjusting the ladders for the height of a seven thirty seven when counterterrorist teams I dotted aircraft in particular require tickled with a house lottery declined to the winning. The net craft is different yet cropped Dole's locked however went across on the ground the mantle kind of tight and throw so emergency ah doors over the wing mainly weight gain access inside I wou- I started because the difference in height I'm body shape is he a aircraft for example seven three seven two small aircraft seven four seven and bigger N._F._l.. Ladders will be longer the the angle of a ladder against forty gives you very important if the body shape underneath the door is to round the ladder is GonNa slip awake and if you put against the door open the door and the only so things we actually had to deal with we built a whole host of different types of entry type devices WanNa remember quite clearly was a platform which would hold former night and it was the Pistons drove drove into the so you stand outside the door. It was so unsafe it'd be just not true. The Pistons just wasn't hold away four men and no balancing waving around and it four people guidelines on holding in position you'd be better off with just a straightforward trolley that they normally use it network eventually ladders designed which were Joe Purpose. You can actually use them on the wings single single mothers or double lettuce on the main opening doors and these padded they were black. 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Once you start looking you'll find seventeen different courses all across the spectrum that you're GonNa WanNa take but you have to use my special U._R._l.. That's the great courses plus dot dot com slash covert. Please go ahead. Check it out. I promise you won't regret it. Although most of the tools the team had on hand were low tech Berry. He had brought along a new S._A._S.. Weapon that was cutting edge a stun grenade so stun grenades were fairly new in the nineteen seventies in fact the S._A._S.. Were perfecting use of them <hes> G._S. G nine knew that so they wanted that expertise with them on this mission it would it would explode with some with with a bit of smoke and a couple of times just in office for a distraction yeah and of course you have the ability of having secondary could refragmentation by that I mean it's the bits of rubber that exploded with very soft rubber injure anybody okay as opposed to conventional which we'd secondary fragmentation would probably kill you absolutely aircraft yeah it was like a really he powerful slash in a series best way describing disco sometimes and the flash the blue lights and everybody seems to move in sort of Jerky way to tear eyesight but if you can imagine that with high explosive in between each jack that's what it was like for about six seven seconds and that disoriented terrorist enough so you can close them. The aim of the grenade was to create a moment of confusion that would allow beginners team to board the plane with terrorists. It's holding weapons mearly inches from the passengers heads any rescue mission would need to see special forces breached the plane and take out each threat before the terrorists even had time to shoot after two days of the plane being grounded founded in Dubai. Wagner was getting worried Mahmoud had begun ranting to the control tower about Palestinian politics and now they believed he was hunting for any Israeli passengers on the plane. Mahmoud systematically goes through the passengers looking at things possible. It's an identity documents mentally separating out people like Jews or Israeli people from the other passengers. This could have ominous implications for certain passages should Mahamoud decides the makeshift team needed to move fast but it was vital that the group do more training the three groups that made up vigorous team had never fought together and they would need to be imperfect sink to get this right at the other end of the airfield. They put together a mock rescue operation a different seven thirty seven had been commandeered to replicate the plane really exciting. It was exciting times. The training was exciting. We had aircraft we had special rangers made indoor ranges killing house killing you will go inside rooms that looked like the inside of an aircraft aircraft seats then people would sit inside. We had the projection at the end continue with a seating and terrorist appeared on the screen and causes appeared on screen and <hes> so you make sure you shouldn't right pissing because he don't know what's going to happen. Once you're inside the aircraft they would use the ladder to sneak under the aircraft's windows and get through all the entrances at once armed with stun grenades they would surprise the terrorists and take control of the plane going through June doors on either side and and heading to the aisle one group sweet forward the other back they would aim to take out those in the Chez. Guevara t-shirts choke each person on the back. When I say go do this they went there and that's when you she stopped training drills for five or six times then you can do it without breen instructed so we just honed on everything then looking to do a quick? You'll get for the doak again. Make sure the hatch quicker if people aren't used to opening the hatch they fumbled the first couple of times after that you can do it quickly do slick and you cut the time down and the idea was to get myself on listerine and the two guys in a fall would actually take the aircraft after hours of training there was one final hurdle Davies still had to prove to the defense minister that the rescue plan might work in order to get the green light defense minister who's actually run the whole show in Dubai came down and we did a demonstration for him. Demonstration was redistrict elected and he gave us the green light to go that night and we will take them out that night very simple approach from the rear of the aircraft because there's a blind spot on the seventy we seven get underneath the aircraft against the wing myself when I was one side and only vague on his major on your side and on the go to open the doors gain access success with the go ahead the assault team made their final preparations soon the mission would be done and the hostages rescued but there was one thing they were not quite prepared for Berry returned to the tower where the runways were all visible. Something was different. The seven thirty seven they used to practice on were sitting on the tarmac but the len shoot was nowhere to be seen. We saw the plane taking I mean we were told the plane and just left <hes>. We actually thought that <hes> for awesome I was over did disappointment <hes> said Alison. I thought we were going to return to U._K.. The Gems Isis Day. We got that we were discussing what we're GONNA do next. <hes> was netscape. <hes> I believe made the decision we would follow them and <hes> we actually flew to Saudi Arabia under came down and talk to US and said Gentlemen Change Decision again we're going to be that's next time on covert to hear the full story of the previous pl P._f.. plane-hijacking check out our covert episodes Entebbe hostage rescue parts one and two covert is an audio boom in world media rights co production hosted by me Jaime Renell it is produced by audio booms Ben Hammersley rockall Jacobs and Karen Beth and by Pascal Hughes for World Media Rights. We had additional production help from world media rights by Gerald's Bingguo David mcnabb's the series creative director and the executive producers for audio boom.