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Thursday, 10 February, 2000, 08:16 GMT
Hijack timetable

Plane and people Activity around the plane as hostages start to leave

The UK's longest hijack stretched into five days, four of which were spent on British soil at Stansted Airport.

Day 1: Sunday 6 Feb

The 0530 GMT Ariana Airlines Boeing 727 takes off from Kabul, Afghanistan, on a flight to the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.

Radio contact is lost shortly after take-off. The plane lands in Uzbekistan's capital, Tashkent and remains at the airport for about four hours. Ten passengers are allowed off.

Released passengers Two passengers released in Moscow face the media
1200 GMT: The plane leaves Uzbekistan for an undisclosed destination.

1349 GMT: The aircraft lands in the remote north-western Kazakhstan town of Aktyubinsk where three more passengers are allowed off.

1617 GMT: The plane takes off again, heading for Russian air space. About three hours later, it lands at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. Nine passengers are released.

2224 GMT: The plane leaves Moscow for an undisclosed European destination, after hijackers demand European flight maps.

Day 2: Monday 7 Feb

In the early hours of the morning, British authorities learn the plane is heading for UK airspace. Prime Minister Tony Blair is informed.

0201 GMT: The plane lands at Stansted Airport in Essex. British diplomats liaise with a number of governments, including the Russians.

Armed police take up positions near the plane, which taxis to within 500 yards of the airport perimeter fence.

Police with plane Armed police surrounded the plane at Stansted
0400 GMT: Essex Police announce negotiations with the hijackers have begun.

Five passengers are allowed off the plane in the morning, followed by two women and a man in the afternoon. One hundred and fifty-seven hostages remain.

Police say despite 15 hours of negotiations, the hijackers have yet to make any political demands.

Day 3: Tuesday 8 Feb

Police disclose negotiators have begun discussing "issues" which could lead to an end to the crisis.

A male passenger in his 40s leaves the jet after complaining of feeling ill.

That night, four men escape by climbing from a cockpit window. 152 hostages remain.

Day 4: Wednesday 9 Feb

The four escapees, confirmed by police as Afghan crew members, undergo debriefing and health checks.

In the early hours of the morning, a flight attendant is apparently pushed down some steps at the back of the plane.

The Taleban government in Afghanistan says it has arrested several people including airport security workers in connection with the hijacking.

Police confirm for the first time the hijackers are armed with hand guns.

1700 GMT: A group of four or five hijackers are seen to come down the rear steps of the jet to collect an evening meal.

Day 5 Thursday 10 Feb

0005 GMT: Police announce that negotiations were "moving in the right direction", raising hopes of an end to the crisis.

0300 GMT: Two men leave the plane, police later say they were hijackers on their way to a face-to-face meeting with negotiators.

0318 GMT: Release of 85 passengers begins.

0600 GMT: Hijack crisis ends with the successful release of all 151 passengers and the surrender of the hijackers at Stansted Airport.

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See also:
10 Feb 00 |  UK
Hijack ordeal over
09 Feb 00 |  South Asia
Taleban arrests over hijack
09 Feb 00 |  UK
Pilots criticised for fleeing
07 Feb 00 |  South Asia
The view from Kabul
06 Feb 00 |  South Asia
Ariana: Flying in the face of adversity

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