Terrorist Hijacking of Pacifica 762 SQUAWK 7500 1110 Central Standard Time

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"Chicago Center, Pacifica Seven Sixty-Two, request."

"Pacifica Seven Sixty-Two, Chicago Center, you're flying out of my airspace now. Contact Denver Center on frequency 124.55 with your request."

"OK, Denver Center on 124.55, Pacifica Seven Sixty-Two, see ya," Mike replied as he jotted down the new frequency.
Karen's scream and rapid hang up of the phone had rattled the cockpit's peace and tranquility. Both pilots knew that the flight was going to terminate - and very shortly. It was now up to Mike, as the pilot in command, to figure out "where" and "when".

Aware that the aircraft was crossing into Montana and, coincidentally, having just returned from a family vacation in the state, Mike knew that Bozeman and Billings each had small airports. With a lot of finesse and a little luck, he might be able to get their sixty-ton aircraft stopped on one of their short runways. Mike checked in with Denver Center.

"Denver Center, Pacifica Seven Sixty-Two, flight level three two zero, request."

"Pacifica Seven Sixty Two at flight level three two zero, Denver Center, good morning, go ahead with your request."

"Sir, we have a situation developing in the cabin and we need the current weather in Bozeman and Billings."

As Mike released the transmit button on his radio, another airliner, not waiting for an appropriate pause in the conversation, checked in on the frequency and, in the process, blocked Denver Center's acknowledgement of Mike's request.

Showing his irritation with the rudeness of the other pilot, Denver Center told him to standby and said, "Pacifica Seven Sixty-Two, we are pulling up the weather in Bozeman and Billings. I'll get back to you in just a minute."

While Mike had been talking to the controller, Gary had opened the divert kit and had located the charts for both airports. Utilizing the Onboard Performance Computer, and factoring in the aircraft's current weight, it was evident, from the data spit out by the computer, that it would be extremely "iffy" getting the jet stopped on either airport's runway. He handed a print out of the landing data to Mike.

Mike took the print out and placed it on the window glare shield. He instinctively knew that the sheet of paper did not hold any good news and right now he had something more important to do. He wanted to know, right now and without a doubt, what in hell was going on in the cabin. Mike picked up his phone and called the aft galley. He listened to it ring ... and ring ... and ring. No one answered. He hung up and called the forward galley. No one answered there, either. Suddenly, the voice of Denver Center came through his headset.

"Pacifica Seven Sixty-Two, Denver Center, sorry about the wait. Advise me when you're ready to copy the Bozeman and Billings weather."

"Go ahead, Denver," Mike said as he picked up a pen and paper.

"The Bozeman weather, at the top of the hour, was sky overcast with a three hundred foot ceiling, the wind is out of the north-northwest at fifteen knots, gusting to twenty knots, and the visibility is three-quarters of a mile in light to moderate snow. The Billings weather is the same except the ceiling is variable between three hundred and four hundred feet. Do you copy?"

Mike and Gary look at each other with an expression of utter dismay bordering on shock. Neither one of them was very excited about the prospect of diverting a fully loaded Boeing 737 in to an unknown airport, located in mountainous terrain, with a blowing snow storm in progress. Not to mention the odds of getting one hundred twenty thousand pounds of airliner stopped on a slick runway were slim and none. Mike was silently cursing under his breath when he heard it ...

Ding. Ding.

Mike jerked up the phone, "Karen, I need to know what's going on with that passenger," he yelled over the line.
Except it wasn't Karen on the other end.
"Mike, this is Michelle."

Michelle was the "B" flight attendant, working in the aft section of the cabin. Michelle was a perky blonde who had entertained the crews at last night's party by placing a quarter between her butt cheeks, standing over a brandy snifter placed on the floor, and accurately dropping the coin into the snifter from a standing position. The entire pub broke into wild applause each time she "bombed" the wine glass.

"We've got a major, major problem back here! The guy that Karen's been talking to you about - he just went ballistic! He has Karen pinned up against the aft service door and he's squeezing her neck! And, Mike, he's telling me to tell you to take him back to Chicago." She paused. "Hold on, he's yelling at me. He wants me to tell you something else."

Mike could hear some muffled voices as Michelle placed her hand over the phone. Within a few seconds she was back on the line.

"Mike, he's telling me that he has a knife and if you don't turn the airplane around he's going to kill Karen and everybody else on the plane!"

Mike couldn't believe his ears. This kind of stuff didn't happen to him! And who, in their right mind, let this psycho through airport security?

"Michelle, are you hurt? Is Sabrina hurt?"

Sabrina was the "C" flight attendant, working in the mid-cabin area. A devoutly spiritual woman, she had not bothered to attend last night's party.

"No, I'm not hurt and I don't see Sabrina! I think she's up in the forward cabin area, keeping an eye on the cockpit door!"

Mike could tell that Michelle was starting to hyperventilate.

He gave her a couple of seconds before he asked, "Michelle, are any of the passengers helping you?"
"No!" Michelle said as she tried to control her breathing. "They're all cowering in their seats! Wait. I see a young boy walking back this way!"

"Good," Mike said. "Now, Michelle, do you see the knife?"

"No, I don't see the knife! He has his left hand on Karen's throat and the other hand in his front pocket!"
Mike would never forget what happened next.

Michelle screamed, "Oh, my God, Mike! I have to go! Get us down quick!"

The line went dead.

Previous: Saturday 1105 Central Standard Time
Next: Saturday 1155 Central Standard Time 

Captain Steve A. Reeves is author of fiction book SQUAWK 7500 Terrorist Hijacking of Pacifica 762 rue and it is true story. Book will be soon available on Amazon. Stay tuned.

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