Saturday, May 17, 2014

Rain Out Theater (continued): 44 years ago, Masahiro's namesake nearly thwarted a hijacking

(Sept 19, 1970)

Jet Hijacked Near Philadelphia, flown to Cuba
Wrestler Tries to Surprise Gunman, But Fails

From the article:

A professional wrestler, 'Professor" Toru Tanaka, of Hawaii, who said he also has been a master of jiu-jitsu and karate for 30 years, said he was ready to use his skills to disarm the hijacker. He decided against the attempt, he said, because he feared the gun would go off and jeopardize the lives of the other passengers.

Situation Tight

Tanaka, who is six feet tall and weighs 280 pounds, said that he first saw the hijacker when  he was standing in the front of the plane with his gun pressed against the stewardess' neck. Another stewardess, Suzzanne Fici, of Boston, came over to Tanaka and asked him if he could take away the gun from the hijacker.

"I said 'yes,'" Tanaka related. "I took off my coat and cufflinks, and told Suzanne to make sure that everyone stayed seated. I walked cautiously up the aisle to the man."

"I realized that the situation was tight, and I couldn't do anything right then. I told the man who I was. Then I went into the washroom. When I came out he still had the gun and the bomb."

"I went toward him, and he said, 'Stand back.' I didn't want to jeopardize anybody's life, so I backed off. We were still in the air, and I thought I might have a chance once we landed."

Tanaka said he remained in his seat after all of the other passengers had left the plane there.

"Then the man called out to me and said, 'Get off, Tanaka,'" the wrestler said, "I did."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's the mark of Zoilo!