Hijacked Passengers Finally Return Home

February 15, 1970: Thirty-nine passengers of a hijacked South Korean airliner returned to loved ones Saturday after spending 65 days in detention in Communist North Korea. Twelve others, including the crew, remained in North Korea along with the plane.

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The returning South Koreans, some crying and others singing their national anthem, arrived in Seoul at 7:40 p.m., two hours after their release at the truce village of Panmunjom.

The plane was commandeered last Dec. 11 while on a regular flight from Kangnung to Seoul. North Korea said the plane was flown to its territory by pilot and copilot, who chose to defect. South Korea denied this, charging the plane was stolen and the people aboard it kidnapped.

The pilot and copilot and two stewardesses did not return and North Korea said other passengers “firmly decided not to.”

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