#OnThisDay (26 Mar 1991) SQ117 Hijack
#onthisday (26 Mar) in 1991, Singapore Airlines flight SQ117 took off from Subang Internal Airport in Kuala Lumpur for Singapore. Barely 15 minutes later, it was hijacked by four armed passengers who claimed to be members of the Pakistan People’s Party. They threatened to blow the plane up unless it was redirected to Sydney. Captain Stanley Lim managed to convince them the plane didn’t have enough fuel to make it that far, so the hijackers allowed the plane to land in Singapore, where they promised to let all the passengers go.
But once there, the hijackers demanded that 11 of their comrades be released from prisons in Pakistan and for the plane to be refuelled for a journey to Sydney. If not, they would kill every single hostage on the plane.
Thus began nine hours of tense negotiation between the police, the Executive Group (a Singapore government crisis management team), and the hijackers. At around 6:45 a.m, the hijackers lost their patience. They issued an ultimatum: unless their demands were met, they would kill one hostage every 10 minutes. Immediately, the team of SAF Special Operations Forces commandos sprang into action. Armed with short-burst machine guns, they forced the plane doors open with detonating charges, tossed stun grenades into the plane, and stormed the plane.
There, they identified themselves as the rescue team and asked all passengers to get down. Within 30 seconds, all four hijackers were shot, and everyone was safe. Today, 31 years later, SQ117 remains a rare and remarkable story of a hijacking in Singapore, a lasting tribute to the expertise of our special forces. #SGSecure #WeAreTotalDefence