Retro | Vintage

Pilot Stops Hijacking Attempt After Being Attacked By Hammer

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In April of 1994, there was an attempted suicide mission on board Federal Express Flight 705. A disgruntled employee was ready to take down the entire cargo aircraft so his wife could receive his life insurance benefit, but the two pilots that day were not about to let that happen.

The Hijacker

Auburn Calloway, a 42-year-old FedEx flight engineer, was a former Navy pilot and martial arts expert. He was facing dismissal charges from FedEx over the irregularities in reporting his flight hours, so he felt the only option was to commit suicide by faking a hijacking. His family would benefit from the $2.5 million life insurance policy and he would not be disgraced by getting fired. To say this did not end the way Calloway intended is an understatement.

The Flight

Federal Express Flight 705 was a cargo jet carrying electronics equipment across the United States. As part of his plan, Calloway attempted to disable the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) which records the proceedings in the cockpit in case an investigation needs to be conducted. Calloway did manage to pull the circuit breaker, but during a pre-flight check, the flight engineer Andy Peterson noticed it was disconnected and rest it before take-off.

Calloway boarded the plane as a deadhead passenger, meaning all of the passengers on board the flight were actual crew members being transported from one location to another. He brought a guitar case filled with hammers and a spear gun, with the intention of killing everyone on board and then crashing the plane.

Twenty minutes into the flight, Calloway began attacking the crew. Each member took multiple blows from the hammer. Peterson was struck in the head, fracturing his skull and severing his temporal artery. Pilot Tucker also took a blow to the head which fractured his skull. This initially rendered him immobile, but still conscious. Captain Sanders remembers the lack of emotion in Calloway's face.

Calloway stopped attacking with the hammers, which is when Peterson and Sanders began to fight back. Peterson was staring down the barrel of Calloway's spear gun, but he grabbed it bare handed and took it away from Calloway.

Tucker regained mobility, but what could he do next?

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