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Last updated: 20 October 2021
Status:
Date:Thursday 3 August 1961
Type:Silhouette image of generic B701 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 707-124
Operator:Continental Air Lines
Registration: N70775
MSN: 17611/49
First flight: 1959-07-02 (2 years 1 months)
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT3C-6
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 67
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 73
Aircraft damage: Minor
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:El Paso International Airport, TX (ELP) (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Phoenix (unknown airport), AZ, United States of America
Destination airport:El Paso International Airport, TX (ELP/KELP), United States of America
Flightnumber:CO54
Narrative:
Continental Air Lines flight 54 was a service from Los Angeles, California, to Houston, Texas. En route stops were planned at Phoenix, Arizona and El Paso, Texas.
During the stop over at Phoenix a 38-year-old man and his 16-year-old son boarded the flight. Twenty minutes before landing at El Paso, at about 03:58 hours, both men entered the cockpit and hijacked the aircraft. The aircraft landed at El Paso and all but four volunteer hostages and six crew were allowed to get off.
The hijackers demanded the plane to be refueled for departure at 07:30 or the pilots would get shot. When the aircraft began to taxy for departure, a border patrol car sped alongside and fired at the tires. Bullets also struck the no.1 and 2 engines. At 12:55 the back door was opened and two stewardesses and three passengers were allowed to deplane. Two minutes later the remaining hostages, except for one, left the plane through the front door. During a conversation with an FBI agent, the hostage was able to overpower the 38-year-old hijacker. The FBI agent then overpowered the son.

The airplane involved in the hijack was involved in a fatal accident on May 22, 1962 when it crashed near Unionville, MO, USA, following the detonation of a bomb.

Classification:
Hijack

Sources:
» St. Petersburg Times - Aug 4, 1961


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This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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