A Hostage Was Murdered By Hijackers, Says Entebbe Pilot

40 years on, the captain of the Air France plane rescued from hostage-takers in Uganda has revealed what he witnessed.

Exactly four decades since hostages from an Air France flight were rescued at Entebbe Airport in Uganda, the plane’s captain has revealed he saw a hostage-taker kill a passenger.

It was previously thought that no hostages had been murdered by the captors, although one was mistaken for a hostage-taker and killed, and another was accidentally shot by an Israeli soldier.

Now, Captain Michel Bacos says a third hostage who died was shot by a hostage-taker.

"When the raid started, a Palestinian came and started firing on the hostages. The woman was on the floor next to him by the entrance and he shot her. For sure she was killed," he told the BBC.

The crisis began on 27 June 1976 when four militants took over an Air France flight as it flew from Israel to Paris with 250 crew and passengers on board. The captors then diverted the flight to Entebbe where, after landing, three more militants boarded the plane. 

The hijackers, who demanded the release of 53 men held in jails around the world, released the majority of hostages but kept 98 on board.

The crew were offered the chance to leave but opted to stay behind with the remaining hostages.

A hostage, who was among the hostages held for a week at the airport of Entebbe [Image: AFP/Getty Images]

"I was a captain of Air France and before that I was in the Free French Forces under [Charles] de Gaulle during the [Second World] War - it would be impossible for me to leave my passengers, unimaginable," Captain Bacos said.

"I told my crew that we must stay until the end, because that was our tradition, so we cannot accept being freed. All my crew agreed without exception."

At around 1.00am on 4 July, about 200 elite troops stormed out of three Hercules transport planes, surprising the hijackers.

Over a 35 minute battle, 20 Ugandan soldiers and all seven hijackers were killed, along with three hostages.

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