Religious Fanatic on Divine Mission Blamed for Hijacking

Mexican official says Bolivian wanted to warn president about 9/9/09.

ByABC News
September 9, 2009, 3:52 PM

Sept. 09, 2009 — -- The hijacker of a jetliner in Mexico was a religious fanatic who said he was on a divine mission when he took over the plane today, a Mexican government official said.

The Bolivian suspect, Jose Mar Flores, 44, said that he hijacked the plane to warn Mexican President Felipe Calderon that an earthquake was coming because today's date, 9-9-09, is the satanic number 666 turned upside down, Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna said.

Flores allegedly used a fake bomb to take over the Aeromexico jet in Cancun. He had it fly to Mexico City, its planned destination, and after ordering the pilot to circle the city seven times, allowed it to land.

All 104 passengers on board were released unhurt, and the incident came to a quick end when Mexican troops stormed the plane.

The nationalities of the passengers on board were not yet disclosed.

It appeared that at least five hijackers were taken into custody and escorted away from the plane, but Luna later said there was only one hijacker, Flores.

Before the troops rushed the hijackers aboard the Aeromexico jet, a Boeing 737, passengers were seen being led off the plane and ordered to sit on the tarmac. The plane had landed in Mexico City after a short flight from Cancun.

In preparation for the rescue, Mexican troops surrounded the plane on the tarmac.

Passengers said they did not realize the plane had been hijacked until it landed.

"We traveled from Cancun without knowing what was happening. We were all very relaxed. No one was alarmed. We were asked by crew members to move from the back to the front of the plane just before leaving the plane. I only saw one hijacker, an adult man with a nice watch who was standing all the time during the flight checking his back constantly. We would have never imagined that the plane had been hijacked. We realized that when we landed," Adriana Romero told local television station TV Azteca.