Pan Am Flight 73

Pan Am Flight 73 was a Pan American World Airways flight from Bombay, India, to New York, United States with scheduled stops in Karachi, Pakistan and Frankfurt, West Germany.

Pan Am Flight 73
N656PA, the incident aircraft, seen in January 1985 at the now-closed Munich Riem Airport
Hijacking
DateSeptember 5, 1986
SummaryHijacking
SiteJinnah International Airport, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
24°54′24″N 67°09′39″E
Aircraft
Aircraft typeBoeing 747-121
Aircraft nameClipper Empress of the Seas
OperatorPan American World Airways
RegistrationN656PA
Flight originSahar International Airport
Mumbai, India
Stopover Jinnah International Airport
Karachi, Pakistan
Last stopover Frankfurt am Main Airport
Frankfurt am Main, West Germany
Destination John F. Kennedy Int'l Airport
New York, United States
Occupants379
Passengers360
Crew19
Fatalities51[1]
Injuries120
Survivors358

On September 5, 1986, the Boeing 747-121 serving the flight was hijacked while on the ground at Karachi by four armed Palestinian men of the Abu Nidal Organization. The aircraft, with 360 passengers on board, had just arrived from Bombay.[2] A grand jury later concluded that the militants were planning to use the hijacked airliner to pick up Palestinian prisoners in both Cyprus and Israel.[3]

Forty-three passengers were injured or killed during the hijacking, including nationals from India, the United States, Pakistan, and Mexico. All the hijackers were arrested and sentenced to death in Pakistan. However, the sentences were later commuted to life in prison. Neerja Bhanot, head attendant on the flight was shot dead and posthumously received the highest civil award Tamgha-e-Pakistan from Pakistan as well as India's highest peacetime award for bravery, the Ashok Chakra Award, for her efforts to save passengers' lives.[4]