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December 25, 1999
'I did not hear any gunshots'
An eyewitness account of the hijack.
Our plane from Kathmandu was late and we didn't know why. Thirty minutes after the take-off, the hijackers announced they had taken over the plane.
I was shocked. I was sitting with my two kids in the middle of the aircraft and I could see three hijackers who were wearing masks. They were speaking softly and that is why I could not figure out in which language they were speaking.
I was told there were five of them, but I could not see all of them together. One of them was stationed at the back of the plane, another was near the cockpit.
I did not see any guns in their hands. They were extremely good to children and some of them carried the kids. Off and on, they told us to put down our heads and not look up.
They tied blindfolds on some passengers, but spared some old women. I was not blindfolded. My husband was sitting at the back and I don't know what has happened to him.
They didn't tell us why they had hijacked the plane. Apparently, when the plane landed at Lahore the hijackers got food and distributed it to some kids and some women.
I did not hear any gunshots and was quite shocked to see the dead body when I got out of the plane at Dubai. My regret is I did not find the time to tell the hijackers that my husband was left behind. They suddenly decided to let some people go. And in that rush they told me to get out of the plane with my kids. I immediately tried to spot my husband but I could not see him in the chaos.
Seema Jain, a passenger released by the hijackers, spoke to rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf from her hotel in Dubai.
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