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Uli Derickson, 60, Who Helped Airline Hostages, Dies
NYT ^ | 2/24/05 | JENNIFER BAYOT

Posted on 02/24/2005 10:02:40 AM PST by Borges

Uli Derickson, the Trans World Airlines flight attendant honored for saving passengers' lives in 1985 by both confronting and mollifying terrorist hijackers, died on Friday at her home in Tucson. She was 60.

Ms. Derickson was still working as a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines when she received a diagnosis of cancer in 2003, her son, Matthew Derickson, said in announcing her death.

On June 14, 1985, when a pair of Lebanese gunmen commandeered a T.W.A. flight from Athens to Rome, Ms. Derickson took the lead in protecting the 152 passengers and crew members.

Though the two hijackers spoke almost no English, Ms. Derickson was able to speak with one of them in German and occasionally calm him by singing a German ballad he requested. She won the hijackers' pity for one passenger by explaining that his daughter had been delivered by a Lebanese doctor.

She also intervened during beatings, often putting herself in harm's way.

"Don't you hit that person," she would shout, a passenger later told The New York Times. "Why do you have to hit those people?"

When a ground crew in Algiers refused to refuel the plane without payment, even when faced with the terrorists' threat to kill passengers, it occurred to Ms. Derickson to offer her Shell credit card. The ground crew charged about $5,500 for 6,000 gallons of fuel.

The most terrifying moment for her, she later told Glamour Magazine, was when the crueler of the two hijackers asked her to marry him.

At one point they asked Ms. Derickson to sort through the passengers' passports to single out people with Jewish-sounding names. Although various news organizations initially reported that she had followed their orders, she in fact hid the passports, her son said. "Everybody looked to her for courage and guidance," Tom Cullins, an architect in Burlington, Vt., who was a hostage on the plane, said in an interview yesterday. "She was clearly in control. She even made demands of the hijackers."

Mr. Cullins added, "We have nothing but the utmost respect for her and a debt of gratitude for really heroic acts."

After about 36 hours, the terrorists released a second wave of hostages, including Ms. Derickson and 65 others, in Algiers. They had already killed a Navy diver, Robert D. Stethem, but his was to be the only death. The hijackers released other hostages over the next 15 days, with the ordeal ending for the last 39 on June 30. It ended after Israel's release of 31 Lebanese prisoners, a fraction of the 766 the hijackers had demanded.

Ms. Derickson became the first woman to receive the Silver Cross for Valor, awarded by the Legion of Valor, a veterans organization. "The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story," a 1988 movie that appeared on NBC and featured Lindsay Wagner as Ms. Derickson, received five Emmy nominations.

Ulrike Patzelt was born on Aug. 8, 1944, in Aussig an der Elbe, Czechoslovakia, near the German border, and was raised in Bavaria. She worked as an au pair in Britain and Switzerland before immigrating to Connecticut in 1967.

She began working for T.W.A. a few years later and joined Delta in the early 1990's.

Her husband, Russell G. Derickson, a former pilot, died in 2003. She is survived by her son, of San Diego, and her mother, Marianne Patzelt of Nuremberg, Germany.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: 1985; airlines; flight847; heroine; hijack; obituary; robertstethem; stethem; turass; twa; twaflight847; uliderickson

1 posted on 02/24/2005 10:02:44 AM PST by Borges
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To: Borges

2 posted on 02/24/2005 10:05:12 AM PST by Borges
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To: Borges

This woman's story should be a True-Stories movie!..........Starring Beasu Derrick!.......


3 posted on 02/24/2005 10:05:54 AM PST by Red Badger (I call her GODZILLARY because she went to NYC and made her nest there, too.........)
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To: Red Badger

oops! Beau......


4 posted on 02/24/2005 10:06:19 AM PST by Red Badger (I call her GODZILLARY because she went to NYC and made her nest there, too.........)
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To: Red Badger

Lindsay Wagner played in her in a 1988 TV movie.


5 posted on 02/24/2005 10:06:33 AM PST by Borges
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To: Borges
The most terrifying moment for her, she later told Glamour Magazine, was when the crueler of the two hijackers asked her to marry him.

Stockholm Syndrome?

6 posted on 02/24/2005 10:07:22 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Borges
Uli Derickson, the Trans World Airlines flight attendant honored for saving passengers' lives in 1985 by both confronting and mollifying terrorist hijackers, died on Friday at her home in Tucson.

But today is only Thursday.

7 posted on 02/24/2005 10:08:19 AM PST by Cowboy Bob (Fraud is the lifeblood of the Democratic Party)
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To: Borges

A brave and beautiful woman.

I wonder what her impressions were of the events of September 11, 2001?


8 posted on 02/24/2005 10:08:20 AM PST by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: Borges
I will never forget those ba$tard$ throwing Stetham's body onto the tarmac.

This brave lady deserves our prayers.

9 posted on 02/24/2005 10:08:52 AM PST by OldFriend (America's glory is not dominion, but liberty.)
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To: Borges
I will never forget those ba$tard$ throwing Stetham's body onto the tarmac.

This brave lady deserves our prayers.

10 posted on 02/24/2005 10:08:52 AM PST by OldFriend (America's glory is not dominion, but liberty.)
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To: Cowboy Bob

I'm pretty sure they had a Friday last week.


11 posted on 02/24/2005 10:09:18 AM PST by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: PBRSTREETGANG

I remember the Navy Diver....I think he was
from Connecticut and very handsome....what
a shame.....


12 posted on 02/24/2005 10:10:29 AM PST by geege
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To: Borges

Never forget....

http://www.stethem.navy.mil/stethem.asp


13 posted on 02/24/2005 10:10:53 AM PST by Wristpin ( Varitek says to A-Rod: "We don't throw at .260 hitters.....")
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To: Borges

To me, Beau Derrick is much better and even resembles her. Everytime I see Ms. Wagner, I think of Bionic Woman. Besides, Beau is a Republican.........


14 posted on 02/24/2005 10:11:54 AM PST by Red Badger (I call her GODZILLARY because she went to NYC and made her nest there, too.........)
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To: Red Badger

As an aside, I believe it's Bo Derek.


15 posted on 02/24/2005 10:13:58 AM PST by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: geege

16 posted on 02/24/2005 10:16:08 AM PST by Hatteras
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To: Hatteras

It's a pic of him???? I cannot open it.


17 posted on 02/24/2005 10:17:52 AM PST by geege
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To: OldFriend
I will never forget those ba$tard$ throwing Stetham's body onto the tarmac.

I remember that awful event also, and I certainly remember the very brave flight attendant Uli Derickson.

RIP Uli Derickson... you left this world too soon.

18 posted on 02/24/2005 10:18:17 AM PST by nutmeg (democRATs = The Party of NO)
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To: StarFan; Dutchy; alisasny; BobFromNJ; BUNNY2003; Cacique; Clemenza; Coleus; cyborg; DKNY; ...
ping!

Please FReepmail me if you want on or off my ‘miscellaneous’ ping list.

19 posted on 02/24/2005 10:19:12 AM PST by nutmeg (democRATs = The Party of NO)
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To: PBRSTREETGANG

Okay......Bo, Beau, I'm not looking at her name tag.......


20 posted on 02/24/2005 10:20:39 AM PST by Red Badger (I call her GODZILLARY because she went to NYC and made her nest there, too.........)
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To: geege

Robert D. Stethem was from Waldorf, Maryland.


21 posted on 02/24/2005 10:20:54 AM PST by Hatteras
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To: geege
Sorry, I don't know what happened there. Try this one...


22 posted on 02/24/2005 10:23:10 AM PST by Hatteras
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To: geege

Seem to be having some troubles here. I can do a right-click and then click "Show Picture" and it appears. But as soon as I refresh, the pic is gone again. Oh well...


23 posted on 02/24/2005 10:26:04 AM PST by Hatteras
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To: Hatteras

I thought CT.....maybe he was based out in Groton.


24 posted on 02/24/2005 10:30:20 AM PST by geege
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To: Hatteras

Oh it worked....thanks....


25 posted on 02/24/2005 10:32:42 AM PST by geege
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To: Borges

One of a kind; God Bless her.


26 posted on 02/24/2005 10:35:14 AM PST by JimRed ("Hey, hey, Teddy K., how many girls did you drown today?")
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To: Hatteras

Another atrocity that Reagan did not respond to. His record regarding terror was pathetic.


27 posted on 02/24/2005 10:46:50 AM PST by zarf
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To: PBRSTREETGANG

"I'm pretty sure they had a Friday last week". LOL

Man, I love smart a$$es. That was hilarious.


28 posted on 02/24/2005 10:54:13 AM PST by KimmyJaye (Susan Estrich: A face for radio and a voice for pantomime.)
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To: Borges; dighton; general_re

The New York Times deserves kudos for this obit and "shame on them" for ignoring most American WWII heroes who have died.


29 posted on 02/24/2005 11:12:25 AM PST by aculeus (This is not a tag line.)
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To: Borges

Does anyone know what happend to the hijackers?


30 posted on 02/24/2005 11:16:09 AM PST by ops33 (Retired USAF Senior Master Sergeant)
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To: Borges

Isn't she the one that let them use her credit card to re-fuel the plane?


31 posted on 02/24/2005 11:16:43 AM PST by najida (The older I get, the more I hate gravity.)
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To: najida

Read the story for Pete's sake!


32 posted on 02/24/2005 12:17:57 PM PST by Kirkwood
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To: Kirkwood

Sorry sweetie,
I thought I read the entire story, but I must have skipped those lines. ~~sigh~~

(Vanity and reading glasses ;))

Thank you for pointing it out for me :)


33 posted on 02/24/2005 12:20:36 PM PST by najida (The older I get, the more I hate gravity.)
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To: Borges

A true heroine.

I hope and believe many of us can thusly rise to the occasion when put to the test such as did Todd Beamer and the rest of his brave group and many others before and after these brave folks.


34 posted on 02/24/2005 1:19:07 PM PST by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: Calpernia; Velveeta; DAVEY CROCKETT; WestCoastGal; jerseygirl; lacylu; Alabama MOM

Ping, to a brave lady story.


35 posted on 02/24/2005 1:22:11 PM PST by nw_arizona_granny (The enemy within, will be found in the "Communist Manifesto 1963", you are living it today.)
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To: Pukin Dog

FYI..whenever you get the chance..r


36 posted on 02/24/2005 2:39:00 PM PST by ken5050 (The Dem party is as dead as the NHL..)
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To: Borges
I remember this and how awful it was about the American who was killed. She was a very quick-thinking and brave person; may she rest in peace.

In this picture, she kind of looks like Charlize Theron (sp?). Would be nice to have a remake of her story so we can see more movies highlighting heroism.
37 posted on 02/24/2005 3:25:55 PM PST by hummingbird ("If it wasn't for the insomnia, I could have gotten some sleep!")
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To: Doctor Stochastic

No. That is the opposite: When the victim falls in love with the abductor/torturer.


38 posted on 02/24/2005 6:51:38 PM PST by freecopper01 (God will grant us the strength for the battle: Will we have the courage to use it?)
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