Jamaican charged over CanJet hostage taking

Fri May 1, 2009 12:22pm EDT
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KINGSTON (Reuters) - The Jamaican man who tried to hijack a Canadian charter aircraft in Montego Bay last month has been charged with robbery, assault and other offenses, police said on Friday.

Stephen Fray, 21, is accused of holding passengers and crew captive aboard a CanJet flight at Donald Sangster International Airport in the resort city on April 19.

Police said Fray had been charged with assault, robbery with aggravation, illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of ammunition, shooting with intent and breaching the civil aviation act.

The most serious charge, illegal possession of a firearm, can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Police accused Fray of using a .38-caliber revolver to seize the Boeing 737-800 jet and take more than 180 passengers and crew hostage on April 19. Authorities said he initially demanded to be flown to Cuba.

A shot was fired as the drama unfolded but no one was hurt. Police described Fray at the time as a "troubled young man."

More than 170 passengers were freed early in the drama but the would-be hijacker kept the crew on board for eight hours before armed police and soldiers stormed the jet.

(Reporting by Horace Helps, editing by Jim Loney and Alan Elsner)

<p>The CanJet airplane hijacked on April 19 sits on the tarmac at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica, April 20, 2009. REUTERS/Andrew Smith</p>