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Hijacker keeps promise, meets pilot after 25 yrs

Mumbai, October 14
An Air India pilot, Umesh Saxena, today again came face to face with an ex-mercenary who had hijacked the plane he was flying 25 years ago.

Peter Duffy, who met Saxena at his home here, had threatened to kill him and 79 other passengers on the fateful day of November 25, 1981, when he hijacked a Boeing 707 from the Seychelles airport.

“I hold no grudges against him,” Saxena said. “He had to make use of us to get out of the island,” Saxena said, as the two men shook hands over glasses of beer this afternoon.

Duffy, who served 20 months of prison in a South African jail for the hijack, said: “I always wanted to meet Saxena. When we landed at Durban airport, I had promised that we would meet again and I wanted to keep that promise.”

Saxena also narrated how Duffy came across the airhostess in the 1981 hijack on a flight to Durban in 1994 and expressed his desire to meet Saxena again.

Duffy, on a visit to India at the insistence of a friend, said he wanted to fulfil his promise to Saxena that he would meet him some day. The two men met first on the fateful day of November 25, 1981. — PTI

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