1960: Australian Pilot Stops Hijack By Punching Terrorist In The Face And Ripping Wires Off Bomb

By | August 15, 2019

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A Trans Australia Airlines Lockheed L-188A Electra, similar to the plane that a man tried to hijack in 1960. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Hijacking planes was a pretty new concept in 1960, but when a bomb-toting freak tried to pull something on a Trans Australian Airline flight, he got a knuckle sandwich from some very brave Ozzies. It's a story that couldn't happen today -- the would-be hijacker's attempt was low-tech, the security was clearly lacking, and the pilot who decked him clearly hadn't been bingeing on Homeland. It was simple old-fashioned heroic problem-solving. This is the story of Trans Australia Airlines flight 408.

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The Trans Australia Airlines Lockheed Electra (sobify.com)

On July 19, 1960, a 22-year-old Russian-born man named Alex Hildebrant boarded a flight from Sydney to Brisbane armed with a sawed-off .22 caliber rifle and a homemade bomb. The flight time was less than two hours, and the plane was carrying 43 total passengers. Thanks to some fast-acting heroes, this is a story of bravery in the face of pure crazy.