45. Telegram 10203 From the Embassy in the Federal Republic of Germany to the Department of State1 2

Subj Multiple Hijackings of Aircraft

According to USAFE, TWA, AND FonOff sources, TWA Flight 741, scheduled to fly Frankfurt to New York, was hijacked with 142 passengers aboard around noon today (Frankfurt time) by a woman who forced the pilot to change the flight call sign from TWA 741 to “Gaza-Strip.” USAFE source tells US that aircraft passed over Damascus about 1625 hours (Frankfurt time) heading east.
USAFE and SwissAir sources inform us that SwissAir Flight 100, scheduled to fly Zurich-New York, was hijacked with 150 passengers aboard about 1255 hours (Zurich time) by unidentified persons(s) who implied connection with Palestine Commando Front, and who forced pilot to change flight call sign from SwissAir 100 to “Haifi.” SwissAir source said plane expected to pass over island of Rhodes about 1530 hours (Zurich time) and was expected to continue in direction of Amman, Beirut, Damascus or Baghdad. SwissAir source estimated sixty percent (60 percent) of passengers US citizens, and thought some Israelis also aboard. SwissAir promised to cable manifest to Embassy Berne.
USAFE informs us that an El Al flight departing from Tel Aviv landed at London (Heathrow) about 1545 hours (Frankfurt time) with three (3) confirmed dead and three more (one woman and two men) still being held by the hijacker(s).
USAFE advises that pilot of a PanAm clipper 93 (a 747 jumbo jet) advised Frankfurt ATC center about 1630 hours (Frankfurt time) that his aircraft was hijacked and was passing over Spangdahlem, Germany with a “190 heading” (south).
USAFE advises that a PanAm clipper 03 departing from Southend, England is speculated to be hijacked and headed toward beirut.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AV 12. Immediate; Limited Official Use. Repeated to Athens, Beirut, Belgrade, Zagreb, Bern, Tel Aviv, London, the consulates at Frankfurt and Zurich, USINT Cairo, USINT Damascus, USINT Baghdad, and CINCUSAFE.
  2. The Embassy reported that TWA Flight 741, Swissair Flight 100, and PanAm Clipper 93 had been hijacked, and that Pan Am Clipper 03 was presumed hijacked. An El Al flight had landed in London with three dead passengers and another three taken hostage by hijackers.