June 21, 1985: Norway’s first hijacker being led into a police car at Fornebu. Photo: Arne Herstrøm, Budstikka / Dagbladet
30 years ago, a thirsty student brought Norway into the world news.
In June 1985, a 24-year-old man from Karmøy, Western Norway, conducted the very first hijacking between two Norwegian airports. The story of the drunken student who gave up the weapon against a bag of beer became a world sensation.
Before he boarded the Braathens SAFE Flight 139 from Værnes (Trondheim) to Fornebu (Oslo), the 24-year-old had enjoyed a larger amount of alcohol. The day before, he had graduated from a Christian high school in Trondheim, and decided to continue the celebration in Oslo.
The plane was full with 115 passengers and five crew members. Just after takeoff, he pointed a gun against one of the flight attendants. In 1985, there was no security or weapons check at Norwegian airports.
The hijacker told the flight attendant to tell the captain that he intended to take control of the aircraft without letting the passengers know, and claimed to have placed a bomb on the plane. He demanded several cold beer during the one hour-long flight – which he received.
Meantime, Fornebu Airport had been closed. When the plane landed, the hijacker had a new requirement:
He demanded that the present Prime Minister Kåre Willoch and Attorney General Mona Røkke should meet him for a press conference.
None of the passengers knew that they were in the midst of a hijacking before the plane had landed, and the whole situation lasted roughly three hours.
Finally, in exchange for a bag of beer, the hijacker surrendered, and the passengers were released.
A police officer who happened to be at Fornebu and who knew the 24 year-old, played an important role in the negotiations. The weapon was an air gun and there were no bomb on-board.
Norway’s first hijacker was sentenced to three years in prison. He explained, among other things in court, that his purpose was to draw attention to a difficult upbringing.
Text modified by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews