Sunday, June 14, 2020
Remembering the Heroes of TWA Flight 847
Thirty-five years ago, Trans World Airlines Flight 847 was hijacked after takeoff from Athens, Greece, with 139 passengers and eight crew members on board. The flight, scheduled to land at Rome, Italy, was diverted to Beirut, Lebanon, where nineteen passengers were released in exchange for fuel. The hijackers flew the plane, crew, and remaining passengers between Beirut and Algiers, Algeria over the next few days as the ordeal continued.
The crew of TWA 847 are widely credited with saving the lives of many passengers, using their excellent training as well as language skills to communicate with and calm the hijackers. The crew repeatedly put themselves in harm’s way to block the hijacker’s plans of harming more passengers.
We pause to remember the death of U.S. Navy Diver and TWA 847 passenger Robert Stethem, who was shot and killed during the standoff.
Today, we honor TWA Purser Uli Derickson, Flight Attendants Judy Cox, Hazel Hesp, Elizabeth Howes, and Helen Sheahan, Captain John Testrake, First Officer Philip Maresca, and Flight Engineer Benjamin Zimmerman. We will never forget their heroic actions that helped save the lives of many.
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