Pan Am hijacker caught after 41 years

On November 24th 1968, Luis Armando Soltren and two others, hijacked Pan Am flight 281. Using guns and knives, Soltren and his accomplices forced their way into the cockpit and demanded that the plane land in Cuba.

Of course, back in that era, hijackings were a little more common than they are nowadays, but that does not mean the crime was easily forgotten. For 40 years, Soltren lived in Cuba, away from his wife and two sons. His two partners in crime were arrested back in the mid 70’s, and each served their time.

Soltren decided that being the number one fugitive on the FBI list for 41 years was long enough, and his deteriorating health forced him to surrender and return to the United States. He was accompanied by security personnel, and was arrested when he landed at JFK airport.

He’ll have to answer to a court today, and chances are his old age and poor health won’t get him much leniency in sentencing – he committed a horrible crime, and probably changed the lives of all those involved on his flight. It took a State Department chartered plane to get them back to the US.