KINGSTON – A gunman was holding five crew members on a commercial jet in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on Monday after all passengers aboard the aircraft were released, authorities said.
A Montego Bay police officer said a shot had been fired after the gunman, whose motives were unknown, breached security about 10 p.m. local time on Sunday (0300 GMT Monday) to force his way aboard the CanJet charter flight at Sangster International Airport.
The officer said no one had been wounded.
Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding and his national security minister, Dwight Nelson, arrived in Montego Bay early on Monday to take personal charge of the situation in the Caribbean nation’s prime tourist resort, a source with Jamaica’s national police force said.
“Based upon some of the things that I am hearing, this person may have mental challenges,” the police source said, referring to the lone gunman who seized the aircraft.
CanJet said the incident aboard Flight 918, which carried 182 passengers and crew, occurred after it made a scheduled landing in the Caribbean tourist resort en route from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
“All passengers have been safely removed from the aircraft, but CanJet crew and the armed man remain on board. Our understanding is that no harm has come to anyone remaining on board and … there has been no damage to the aircraft,” the company said in a statement on its website.
“Our priority at this time is well-being of the passengers and crew who were involved in the incident,” said the company, which operates a fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft.
The police officer, who asked not to be identified because he had not been authorized to discuss the hostage situation, said the man who commandeered the aircraft was armed with a handgun but said he had no further details.