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Former CAL pilot passes

Published: 
Sunday, June 17, 2018
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Michael Rezende

Former Caribbean Airlines pilot Michael Rezende has died.

The 72 year old passed away around 10 am yesterday.

Rezende, who would have celebrated his birthday on July 16, would be remembered for the role he played in the May 1, 1970, hijacking of a BWIA Boeing 727 Sunjet, which originated in T&T with scheduled stops in Jamaica and the Grand Cayman.

Shortly after take-off from Kingston, Rezende, who was the First Officer at the time, was confronted by two men armed with a gun and a knife who sought to commandeer the plane and have it fly to Africa.

The hijackers later renamed the flight Afro American Freedom Flight Number One (AAFF).

After learning of mechanical problems and the fact that the plane would need to be refuelled for such a trip, Rezende and the rest of the crew which included Capt Keith Melville, Michal Bower, and Jennifer Hanna nee Selman, landed in Havana, Cuba, where the 63 passengers and crew members were held hostage for close to seven hours.

The Cuban authorities later boarded the aircraft and took the two hijackers into custody.

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