Skip to comments.Flight Attendant Credited With Saving Lives in 1985 Hijacking Dies
Posted on 02/26/2005 10:46:44 AM PST by TheOtherOne
Flight Attendant Credited With Saving Lives in 1985 Hijacking Dies
Published: Feb 26, 2005 TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Uli Derickson, the flight attendant who served as a buffer between terrorists and passengers during a 1985 airline hijacking that dragged on for 17 days, has died at the age of 60.
Derickson, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2003, died Feb. 18 at her home in Tucson, said Glen Coughenour, funeral director at the Evergreen Mortuary Cemetery and Crematory.
During the hijacking of Trans World Airlines Flight 847 in June 1985, Derickson talked to the Shiite Muslim terrorists and is credited with shielding passengers whose names sounded Jewish by hiding their passports.
The flight began in Athens but ended up in Beirut, where the crew and 39 passengers were held for 17 days.
A Navy diver on the flight was singled out and killed by the terrorists, but passengers credited Derickson with preventing more killings.
"When they were beating the others, something told me that this could not go on," Derickson wrote in the December issue of Glamour magazine. "I jumped out of the seat they had ordered me to take and grabbed the hijacker physically ... I held him tight and looked straight into his eyes and I said 'Stop it. Stop it right now.'"
She was able to speak to one of the hijackers because both knew German.
Derickson said the most important factor behind her action "was that I was ready to die."
"I prayed, cleared my conscience and, in my mind, finished my life," she wrote.
After leaving Athens the plane was diverted to Algiers, where ground crews refused to refuel the aircraft free of charge and hijackers threatened to kill passengers until it was gassed up. Derickson gave her Shell credit card to cover the costs.
She said after her release that the hijackers had asked her for the passports of passengers with Jewish-sounding names.
Asked how many she picked out, she answered: "Six. Or seven, I believe."
Later, however, she said she collected all the passports and did not help the terrorists determine which hostages might be Jewish.
Because her comments were initially interpreted to mean that she had helped single out Jewish passengers, she was criticized in the Israeli Parliament and received threats from extremist groups.
Several of the freed hostages insisted Derickson had stood up to the terrorists and prevented additional violence, but she continued to receive threats.
Derickson was the first woman to receive the United States silver medal of honor for helping hold the hijackers at bay, and was awarded the Silver Cross for Valor by the Legion of Valor, a veterans' group.
She resumed flying with TWA soon after the hijacking but retired in the late 1980s. She tried working in real estate but missed flying, so she joined Delta Air Lines in the early 1990s and continued working, mainly on international flights, until she was diagnosed with cancer in 2003.
a little help with a ping list please.
The navy diver was a guy named Stetham. For whatever it is worth, a barracks building was named after him at Dam Neck, Virginia, and a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, along with the citations, hang in the quarterdeck as a reminder...
It's worth something to me. He was killed in Terrorist war against America and Israel. It was going on long before 9-11
There was a tv movie made about her experience, starring Lindsey Wagner. They used to show it on cable, but I haven't seen it since 9/11.
She was a true patriot for how she struggled to deal with those terrorists, while many grown men cowered in their seats.
Not a wonder that following a trauma like that she contracted cancer.
She may not be honored in earth but those who denigrated her may yet have to step aside while God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel honors her in His household of faith. She obviously feared God rather than man.
These days we are taught to fear man rather than God. That is what pc is all about.
"Derickson was the first woman to receive the United States silver medal of honor for helping hold the hijackers at bay,..."
Kudos to this woman, she has now gone on to the true reward. But when are the fellows on Flight 93 going to be awarded medals? I honestly don't understand why this hasn't already happened.
When I read these accounts from past terrorist history, I am amazed that we were so fast asleep all those years. What in the world did our government think was going on? We had tons of warnings in advance of 9/11, but we refused to believe that we were in a war with Islam. The only good thing about 9/11 was that we all saw it and the government could not get its "experts" on TV to lull us all back to sleep.
Those crazy terrorists...screwed up. They could have gone on infiltrating America at their leisure. We would have been doomed. The got greedy and acted. Now we have the opportunity to do something about it. They literally woke the sleeping giant...they were already in the house.
I don't know who it stars, but the movie "Delta Force" is about this hijacking, but they don't give this flight attendant the credit she is due. I didn't know about her actions, only what I have seen in the movie.
It definitely instills pride in the military and shows how dedicated they are to helping rescue Americans.
"I don't know who it stars, but the movie "Delta Force" is about this hijacking, but they don't give this flight attendant the credit she is due. I didn't know about her actions, only what I have seen in the movie."
I saw that as well. The tv movie with Lindsey Wagner depicts the events leading up to that rescue, when she was trying to reason with the hijackers, begging them not to kill people, trying to hide the passports of as many Jewish passengers as possible. In the tv movie, they show the hijackers as offering to release her (one of the hijackers took a liking to her), but she refuses to leave until she negotiates the release of all the other women and children are released from the plane.
I will say that I have no idea if the tv movie was 100% accurate.
Yup. True enough.
Well, I do know who it stars, duh! Chuck Norris. After that, I'm not sure.
And a Navy ship was named after him, IIRC.
The STETHEM is a sister ship of USS COLE
They are both ARLEIGH BURKE-class Guided Missile Destroyers.