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EgyptAir Hostage Drama: A Look Back at Historic Hijackings

Here's a look at high-profile hijackings over the years.
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The incidence of commercial aircraft hijackings has dropped amid improvements in global aviation security. In the wake of Tuesday's hijacking of an EgyptAir jet, here are other high-profile pirated planes.

9/11 Attacks

Nineteen hijackers boarded four commercial airplanes on Sept. 11, 2001 and crashed two into the World Trade Center and a third into the Pentagon. Passengers on the fourth plane, Flight 93, fought the hijackers and the plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. In total, the attacks killed nearly 3,000 people — 2,753 in New York, 184 in Washington and 40 on board flight 93.

Attempted Hijack to Sochi

In February 2014, a passenger on board a Pegasus Airlines flight made a bomb threat and told the pilots to fly to the Winter Olympics venue of Sochi, Russia. The pilots managed to hoodwink the Ukrainian passenger by turning off in-flight maps and continued to Turkey where he was arrested.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 702

The co-pilot of a February 2014 flight from Ethiopia to Rome took control of the aircraft while the pilot was in the bathroom and diverted it to Switzerland. Officials said the Ethiopian co-pilot, who was seeking asylum in Switzerland, locked himself in the cockpit and threatened to crash the plane if the pilot didn't stop pounding on the locked door.

Military fighter jets were scrambled to accompany the hijacked jet and the co-pilot was apprehended on the ground in Geneva after attempting to flee through a window.

EgyptAir Flight 648

The airline's last hijacking was in 1985, when an Athens to Cairo flight was seized by terrorists and diverted to Malta. When negotiations failed, Egyptian troops stormed the aircraft but the hijackers fought back with hand grenades and 60 of the 90 passengers were killed.

Pan Am Flight 281

Pan Am Flight 281 was traveling from New York's Kennedy Airport to Puerto Rico on Nov. 24, 1968 with 103 passengers and crew. Pena Soltren, then 25, and at least two co-defendants brought pistols and large knives aboard the plane in a baby's diaper bag. After approximately an hour and a half, Soltren used a knife and a gun to threaten a flight attendant and the pilots were forced to divert to Havana, Cuba. Years later, the hijackers were brought to justice.