Passenger power robbed two hijackers of most of their bargaining power today when most of the captives on board an Atlasjet fled through the back door. The drama began when the flight, en route from northern Cyprus to Istanbul in Turkey, was forced to divert to Antalya to refuel, as the hijackers wanted to fly to Tehran.
The men, a Turk and a Syrian, were armed with a knife and claimed to have a bomb. One hostage said they claimed to be members of al-Qaeda, another said they spoke Arabic and wanted to fly to Syria. They were unable to gain the cockpit, and on the tarmac in Antalya the hijackers freed the women and children among the 142 passengers and crew. This was the moment most people chose to make their escape, including the pilot. The rest of crew stayed on board and were the only hostages as negotiations continued. The hijackers eventually surrendered peacfully.