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Flashback to First Plane Hijacking in Greece

During the Civil War, on September 12th 1948, the first reported hijacking in Greece occurred when six pro-communist students, who wanted passage to Yugoslavia, hijacked a plane which was travelling from Athens to Thessaloniki.
Alexandros Koufoudakis, 21, Dimitrios Koufoudakis, 23, Achilleas Ketimlidis, 19, Antonis Voyazos, 18, Giorgos Kelas, 17, and Spiros Helmiadis, 18, were on the run and accused by the police for sabotage. They boarded a civilian TAE midday flight from Athens to Thessaloniki to make their escape.
A few minutes after take off, and while the plane was flying over northern Evia, four of the six young men entered the flight deck, held the pilot Athanassios Igoumenakis at knife-point, and ordered him to fly towards Yugoslavia.

Pilot A. Igoumenakis (center) in front of the hijacked plane after the ordeal.

The co-pilot and the radio operator were injured by the hijackers. The plane landed near Skopje, in today’s North Macedonia. The six hijackers disembarked and fled.
They were eventually tried in absentia by the Extraordinary Military Tribunal of Thessaloniki and sentenced to death.
Two of them, Spiros Helmiades and Achilleas Ketimlidis, returned illegally to Greece and were killed in the battles of the Civil War.
The remaining four lived in Eastern European countries for many years.

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