May 1, 2009 / 4:26 PM / in 9 years

Jamaican charged over CanJet hostage taking

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.

<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>

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

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