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The BBC's Daniel Boettcher reports
"Another hostage has left the aircraft"
 real 28k

The BBC's June Kelly
"The police are stressing they're prepared for a long haul"
 real 28k

The BBC's James Robbins
"The politics of this could hardly be more complex"
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The BBC's John McIntyre
"Flights were barely affected by the hostage crisis"
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Tuesday, 8 February, 2000, 17:45 GMT
Ninth hostage leaves hijack jet

Security forces have surrounded the plane

Crisis negotiators have secured the release of a ninth hostage from the hijacked plane at Stansted airport.

Police said the hijackers released an asthmatic Afghan man aged 40-45, after he complained of breathing difficulties.

The man, who told police he was a trader, has been treated and is being questioned by security services to gain more information about conditions in the plane.

Assistant Chief Constable John Broughton told a news conference that the only formal requests police had received from the hijackers were "house-keeping" ones - meaning requests for food, water and other supplies.

'No change'

He added: "The negotiations are going forward in a professional way, in a fairly calm way, so no real change from where we were before."

Police experts have warned that negotiations to free more than 150 hostages could last several days.

As the crisis entered a third day, the negotiators told the hijackers they wanted a peaceful end to the stand-off.

Negotiation can be a very protracted technique, it could go on for days
Assistant Chief Constable Joe Edwards
Eight hostages were freed on Monday by a hijackers believed to be armed with grenades and pistols.

Security forces have surrounded the plane, at Stansted, near London. But Joe Edwards, Assistant Chief Constable of Essex, said negotiation remained the favoured option.

He added: "It can be a very protracted technique. It could go on for days."

passengers Two of the freed passengers
Five hostages - one woman, two children and two men - left the aircraft shortly after midday on Monday.

Four of the five, a man of 26, a woman of 17 and two children, were from the same family, said police.

The five - thought to be Afghan - were interviewed by police.

Mr Edwards said three other passengers released three hours later were a 36-year-old woman, her 47-year-old husband and an unrelated woman of 30.

The hostages indicated they had been treated well on board.

Click here to see the hijackers' route

The choice of who to let go had been made by the hijackers, he said, adding: "The mood on board is calm."

Stomach ailments

Supplies of food, drink and medicines have been delivered several times to those on board since the jet landed in the UK at 0200 GMT on Monday.

Early on Tuesday, breakfasts of omelettes and mushrooms, together with a second power generator, were delivered on board.

Police say some of the medication has included treatments for "minor tummy ailments".

Officers did not give details of the terms of the releases, or of any demands made by the hijackers, other than for food, water and other supplies.

Mr Broughton said: "We have been seeking all the time to improve sanitation and conditions on board.

"They've been on the aircraft for some considerable time and we're conscious that we want to improve conditions and ultimately bring this to a successful conclusion."

Issues discussed

He said the hijackers had made no specific demands.

A police spokeswoman said "issues" were being talked about with the hijackers, but that was different from demands being made.

SAS soldiers are believed to be part of the standby operation at the airport.

Flight details
0529 GMT Sunday: Plane takes off from Kabul
0543 GMT: Aircraft loses contact with air traffic control
0647 GMT: Lands in Tashkent - refuelled after four-hour wait; 10 passengers released
1240 GMT: Lands in Kazakhstan - demand for more fuel - takes off again
1841 GMT: Plane lands in Moscow
2220 GMT: Plane leaves Moscow
0202 GMT Monday: Lands in UK at Stansted airport
For much of Monday, airport chiefs operated only a skeleton service, but on Tuesday 99% of scheduled flights were operating.

Stansted, which has seen several similar incidents in the past, has well-rehearsed procedures for dealing with hijacks.

The Boeing 727 was hijacked on Sunday during an internal Afghan flight.

It landed twice in Central Asia, where at least 10 passengers were released and the plane refuelled.

Several hours later, it stopped in Moscow, where another 10 passengers were freed.

The hijackers' motives are unclear, but one report, from Pakistan, said the group wanted the release of a political prisoner.

In Afghanistan, the ruling Taleban movement said that while British authorities were free to negotiate with the hijackers, the Taleban itself would not give in to their demands.

Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, the Taleban's minister for civil aviation and tourism, said the UK authorities should end the hijack by storming the plane.


Analysis: Hijack - the last resort
Stansted travel chaos eases
Who are the hijackers?
Negotiating with hijackers
Stansted's hijack history

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See also:
08 Feb 00 |  UK
Analysis: Hijack- the last resort
07 Feb 00 |  South Asia
The view from Kabul
08 Feb 00 |  South Asia
Hijackers 'have not contacted Taleban'
08 Feb 00 |  UK
Stansted travel chaos eases
07 Feb 00 |  UK
How to negotiate with hijackers
07 Feb 00 |  South Asia
Analysis: Who are the hijackers?
07 Feb 00 |  South Asia
Anxious wait for Afghan relatives
07 Feb 00 |  UK
Stansted's hijack history
06 Feb 00 |  South Asia
Ariana: Flying in the face of adversity

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