February 14, 1970, Freedom Bridge, Korea: North Korea today freed 39 of the 51 persons who were aboard a South Korean airliner hijacked to North Korea last Dec. 11. The plane’s crew and two stewardesses were among those not released.
The (North) Korean Central News Agency broadcast the announcement of the release only a few hours before they were brought to the line of demarcation separating North and South Korea.
Some of the passengers freed from 65 days of detention in the Communist North shed tears and waved handkerchiefs at newsmen as they crossed the bridge over the Imjin River. The passengers included 33 men and six women. They were taken to Seoul 35 miles south by bus.
Information Minister Shin Bum-shik of South Korea demanded that North Korea “immediately and unconditionally repatriate the rest of the persons, the cargo together with the aircraft.”
The YS-11 turboprop airliner was diverted to North Korea while on a domestic flight from Kangnung, South Korea to the capital of Seoul.
North Korea has said the pilot of the plane, Yu Byung-ha and Chol Suk-man, the co-pilot carried out the hijacking and had defected to North Korea.
The Pyongyang government said the pilots, both retired South Korean air force officers, did it to oppose the United States and the government of South Korean President Park Chung-hee. Article archived here.