Aer Lingus Flight 164
|Date||2 May 1981|
|Site||London Heathrow Airport|
|Passengers||103 (including 1 Hijacker)|
|Aircraft type||Boeing 737–200|
|Flight origin||Dublin Airport|
|Destination||London Heathrow Airport|
While on approach to Heathrow, about five minutes before the flight was due to land, a 55-year-old Australian named Laurence James Downey went into the toilet and doused himself in petrol. He then went to the cockpit with a cigarette lighter in hand and demanded to be taken to Iran; when told there was insufficient fuel he specified France. The plane landed at Le Touquet – Côte d'Opale Airport and negotiators began discussions with Downey. He demanded that Pope John Paul II make public the Third Secret of Fatima.
After nearly 10 hours of standoff, French special forces stormed the plane and apprehended Downey. No shots were fired and nobody was injured.
In February 1983, Downey was sentenced to five years of imprisonment for air piracy. He was a former Trappist monk who had spent time in the Soviet Union and espoused a variety of fringe theories.