Book: Hijackers had airplane in nosedive heading for U.S. nuclear reactor — “A very, very scary situation” -Energy Official

Published: April 16th, 2013 at 12:52 pm ET
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Title: The odd side of Oak Ridge history
Source: Knoxville News
Author: Frank Munger
Date: April 16, 2013

On the morning of Nov. 11, 1972, Oak Ridge stood still — or nearly so — while a hijacked Southern Airways jetliner circled above.

“It was a very, very scary situation,” Jim Alexander, a retired public affairs officer at the Department of Energy, recalled in a 2001 interview.

The hijackers threatened to crash the airplane into the Oak Ridge nuclear facilities if their demands, including $10 million in cash, were not met. [...]

The threat was real, according to a 1977 book, “The Odyssey of Terror.”

The author, Ed Blair, wrote that the hijackers went berserk after placing a call to the White House and being shunned by John Ehrlichman, an aide to President Nixon, who apparently was unaware of the crisis. Blair reported that the hijackers held a grenade to the pilot’s head and ordered him to dive the plane toward the Oak Ridge reactor. The plane was actually in a nosedive when a report came over the radio that the money demands were being met [...]

See also: Japan Gov't Experts: Airplane crash affecting Fukushima spent fuel pool a key security issue for future

Published: April 16th, 2013 at 12:52 pm ET
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11 comments

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