Ref Number: 87
Ref Number: 87
Shortly after taking off from Sofia for a routine trip to Varna at 18:00 local time, a Balkan Bulgarian Airlines Antonov An-24 was hijacked. The hostages were taken by four young me a Lachezar Ivanov, Krasen Gechev, Ivaylo Vladimirov, and Valentin Ivanov) who ranged in age from 17 to 22.
Passengers were told that the hijackers had recently escaped from prison and that the plane would be depressurized if anybody tried to stop the takeover.
The four knife-wielding hijackers then threatened the flight attendant and insisted that the jet be rerouted to Vienna. A passenger was dispatched to the cockpit to transmit the requests to the pilot, who in turn communicated them to the local authorities and was given orders to seem to comply while really continuing on track to Varna and then out over the Black Sea. The authorities knew they had to come up with a clever way to allay the Pilot’s fears that Vienna did not resemble Vienna approach.
They then took the pretty ingenious step of turning off the electricity to Varna so that the hijackers wouldn’t be able to see the shore of the Black Sea. Not an easy feat considering they still needed to get supplies to hospitals and jails for obvious reasons, but within an hour they were prepared.
When the jet landed in Varna, Bulgaria, a police officer and an airport worker, both of whom spoke fluent German, disguised themselves as Austrian airport officials in an effort to trick the hijackers into thinking they were in Vienna and get them to surrender.
After requesting a translator in an effort to negotiate their surrender, the hijackers became panicked when they realised that the disguised police officer was actually wearing a leather jacket produced in Bulgaria. At this time, four commandos were let onboard the plane via a hatch in the cargo hold.
Intervention by Force
Three of the hijackers were apprehended and disarmed when commandos stormed the plane. Valentin Ivanov, the lone surviving hijacker, threatened to murder the stewardess from the plane’s restroom.
As Ivanov attempted to execute his captive, two additional commandos boarded the plane through the passenger hatch, kicked through the toilet door and opened fire. Only Ivanov was hurt in the event. The flight attendant was rushed to the hospital after suffering a severe laceration to her neck, and she ultimately recovered completely.