A mentally ill gunman held six airline crew hostage today after forcing his way on to a jet at Jamaica’s Montego Bay airport.
Soldiers and police surrounded the Canadian CanJet plane as talks continued with the man.
He barged through airport security and onto the Boeing 737 then demanded to be flown to Cuba.
He released most of the 159 passengers and eight crew, but was still holding six crew members, police said.
The plane had arrived from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was scheduled to stop in Santa Clara, Cuba, before returning to Canada, officials said.
The gunman’s father was assisting with negotiations.
Jamaican information minister Daryl Vaz described the gunman as being Jamaican and about 20 years old, saying he was a “mentally challenged youngster”. He did not give details about the man’s mental condition.
The airline said “a full security operation is under way” and it is co-operating with authorities on the Caribbean island.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding addressed all the passengers after they were debriefed by police and assured them that everything possible was being done to return them home quickly, police said.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was in Jamaica for a one-day visit was monitoring developments.