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The plane of Barthe Cortes hijacked in Congo

August, 2013

Barthe Cortes, 2013

On29 July, three armed men forced their way into BVC plane which was going to fly from Kivu to Dodoma in Tanzania. The armed hijackers threatened the captain that they would have blown the plane up if he had not listened to their demands. Still, the hijackers had a bad timing since the plane was just after the unloading and it was impossible to take off from that place. The desperate fugitives knocked the pilot down and took the helm. One of the rebel-hijackers probably knew the pilotage (the knowledge gained during Congo armed forces' service) and tried to take off but only managed to start the engine and rolled for several hundred metres, causing damage to fences, ramming a part of village and warehouses--the property of the city. Fortunately, no one got hurt and the plane was taken back in two hours by BVC. The head of BVC, Barthe Cortes did not report the hijacking officially, and the rebels who, according to the observers, were responsible for that crime, also did not confirm it officially. According to the opinion of expert on safety issues, that silence from both parties is probably the result of the fact that the BVC owner--Barthe Cortes--since the arrest in Congo (2011/2012), does not want to be associated with any political or military conflict in Congo that could hamper the further activity of BVC in this country. While the other party that is, rebels, simply do not want to be held responsible for this abortive attempt and worsen their situation with the government. That day, the pilot of the plane was Omar Nyarko who did not suffer severe injuries. The planned flight from Congo to Tanzania would have been his last flight as he was planning to retire. He has been working for BVC for 5 years and formerly, for Ghana airlines, but higher earnings in BVC cargo airlines persuaded him to risk flying to places of military conflict. As a pilot, he has experienced three hijackings, the first time was when he worked for state airlines, and the other ones have happened when he has been working for BVC. His plane was also raked several times by rebel' machine-gun fires in Congo, Somalia and Sudan.

Read the interview with the hijacked plane's pilot : source

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