Aer Lingus Flight EI 164 Hijacked 1981

On 2 May 1981 attention of the world's press was on Aer Lingus flight EI 164, which had been hijacked with 113 passengers and crew on board.

The flight from Dublin to London Heathrow was diverted to Le Touquet airport in France. The hijacker, Australian Larry Downey, had initially demanded to be flown to Iran but settled for France when he was told that the plane had insufficient fuel. The plane landed at Le Touquet airport, where negotiations went on for eight hours. Downey's demand was that Pope John Paul II make public the Third Secret of Fatima. Following hours of tension, the hijacker was overpowered by French power troopers and the passengers were freed.

First onboard to meet the passengers was Transport Minister Albert Reynolds, who addresses the press and describes how the events unfolded. Reynolds had been heavily involved in the negotiations throughout the hijack. He describes how the hi-jacker had a small bottle of liquid, which he claimed was cyanide and also had petrol sprayed over him.

RTÉ reporter Eddie Barrett spoke to Captain Eddie Foyle, the crew and passengers about the ordeal.

In February 1983, Downing was sentanced to five years in prison.

A RTÉ News report by Eddie Barrett broadcast on 3 May 1981.

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