Brazilian commercial aircraft hijacked in mid-flight

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The Independent US

A commercial airliner with 66 passengers on board was forced to land on a makeshift runway in a rural part of Brazil by armed gunmen who escaped with several sacks from the hijacked craft. Aviation authorities believe the sacks may have contained money.

A commercial airliner with 66 passengers on board was forced to land on a makeshift runway in a rural part of Brazil by armed gunmen who escaped with several sacks from the hijacked craft. Aviation authorities believe the sacks may have contained money.

After the men had fled the the Boeing 737 the pilot flew the craft to an airport in the city of Londrina which lies 325 miles (520 km) to the southwest of Sao Paulo.

The Regional Civil Aviation Service reported that all 72 people (including six crew) who had been on board weresafe. The plane was held on the airport's runway while local police officers inspected it and questioned passengers. There were reports that one of the men had fired a shot in the cockpit.

The hijacked plane had started its journey in Foz de Iguacu, a tourist haven near Argentina, and was due to arrive in Curitiba and then Rio de Janeiro.

The aircraft operator, VASP, said that it was still not clear how the assailants had boarded the plane.

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