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Jack Carr's take on terrorism in the skies on June 14, 1985: Crew was 'nothing short of heroic'

On June 14, 1985, 139 passengers and 8 crew members boarded TWA Flight 847 from Athens, Greece, en route to Rome, Italy

Among the passengers who passed through the notoriously lax security in Athens were Mohammed Ali Hamadi and Hassan Izz-al-Din. 

Twenty minutes into the flight, they took control of the aircraft using two Soviet F-1 grenades and a Browning Hi Power 9mm pistol.

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Jewish passengers were separated from the others and two U.S. Navy divers were identified. 

After another refueling, the plane returned to Beirut, where additional armed terrorists boarded the plane. 

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On the morning on June 15, the plane door was pushed aside and 2nd Class Navy Diver Robert Dean Stethem was moved to the opening. 

He had been beaten nearly to death by the 12-15 Hezbollah terrorists holding the plane; they had almost ripped him apart with fists, fingernails and even their teeth.

After 17 days of negotiations and concessions on the part of Israel and the U.S., all hostages were released. 

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To this day, Hezbollah denies any involvement in the hijacking. 

He was paroled in 2005.

The German news organization Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported that Pakistani intelligence sources indicate that Hamadi was killed in a CIA drone strike in Pakistan in 2010. 

Reports of his death are unconfirmed. 

(Follow Jack Carr on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/jackcarrusa.)

More details of the aftermath

When the remaining hostages were finally released on June 30, 1985 — after two weeks of intense negotiations between President Ronald Reagan and Lebanese and Israeli officials — they were driven to Syria and then flown to West Germany.

They were then welcomed home by President and Mrs. Reagan.

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Stethem had hoped to make a career in the Navy.

He became, however, the only person killed in the hijacking of TWA Flight 847.

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