KINGSTON - A would-be hijacker surrendered to the authorities on Monday after releasing the last of more than 180 hostages he seized hours earlier aboard a Canadian charter jet in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
The suspect, described as a troubled young man who had demanded to be flown to Cuba, breached security about 10 p.m. local time on Sunday (11 p.m. EDT) to force his way aboard the CanJet charter flight at Sangster International Airport in Jamaica's prime tourist resort.
A shot was fired as the drama unfolded but no one was wounded, a senior police official said.
CanJet said the incident aboard Flight 918, involving a Boeing 737-800 aircraft with 182 passengers and crew, occurred after it made a scheduled landing in Montego Bay en route from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Kent Woodside, CanJet vice president and general manager, told a pre-dawn news conference in Halifax that all 174 passengers and two crew members had been safely removed from the aircraft, but six crew were still on the plane with the gunman on the tarmac at Sangster International.
After tense negotiations, personally overseen by Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding and his national security minister, Dwight Nelson, the gunman freed his remaining hostages unharmed and surrendered to police, a government statement said.
It did not elaborate but Information Minister Daryl Vaz said earlier that the suspect, who was believed to be armed with a handgun, was a Jamaican from Montego Bay aged about 20.
This is the case of a troubled young man, Vaz told CNN, adding, He definitely has had some mental challenges.
Originally, his demands were to be flown to Cuba because the flight actually was going to Cuba and then back to Halifax. That really was his demand, Vaz said.