Mexico City A Bolivian religious fanatic briefly hijacked a jetliner from the beach resort of Cancun as it landed in Mexico City on Wednesday, police said. All passengers and the crew were released unharmed.
The Bible-carrying hijacker used a juice can he said was a bomb to hold the 103 passengers and crew on the tarmac for more than an hour.
Masked police stormed the aircraft with guns drawn and escorted several handcuffed men away without firing a shot. Police later said there was only one hijacker, and the other men aboard were detained because the suspect had told a flight attendant he had three accomplices. The others were quickly released.
Jose Flores, 44, later told police his three companions were “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”
Flores hijacked Aeromexico Flight 576 after a divine revelation, according to Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna. Flores said Wednesday’s date — 9-9-09 — is the satanic number 666 turned upside down.
Flores, speaking to reporters after he was detained, said he took control of the aircraft with “a juice can ... with some little lights I attached.”
“Christ is coming soon,” he added, smiling.
As the plane was landing, Flores stood up and showed his contraption to a flight attendant, Garcia Luna said.
He ordered the pilot to circle over Mexico City seven times and asked to speak with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, saying he wanted to warn him of an impending earthquake, Garcia Luna said.
His wife, Elizabeth Melgar, told W Radio that Flores “always told me that he was looking for a way to attract the attention of the media ... he always told me that he was waiting for a signal from God to do something.
“Don’t worry if they put me in jail,” Melgar quoted him as saying. “(It will be) glory to God.”
Garcia Luna said Flores is a drug addict who was convicted of armed robbery in Bolivia, and has lived in Mexico for 17 years. Flores described himself as a pastor in southern Oaxaca state who had gone to Cancun to preach.
He is also a Christian music singer who in videos posted on YouTube sings of leaving drugs and finding God. “I was in jail, I was a despicable drug addict, but Christ freed me a few years ago,” he sings along with recorded music at a crowded stadium.
In other videos, Flores, who goes by the stage name Josmar, is seen playing with nunchakus or shooting at a coin he tosses in the air.
U.S., French and Mexican citizens were among the passengers, according to a U.S. official in Washington who was briefed on the situation. The official was not authorized to discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman said at least 14 U.S. citizens were on the plane and were being interviewed by Mexican authorities at the airport.
Aeromexico said in a statement that neither passengers or crew suffered any harm.