Aeroflot Flight 244

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Aeroflot Flight 244
Hijacking summary
Date 15 October 1970
Summary Hijacking
Site en route
Passengers 45[1]
Crew 5?
Injuries (non-fatal) 3
Fatalities 1
Survivors 49?
Aircraft type Antonov An-24b
Operator Aeroflot
Flight origin Batumi, Adjar ASSR, Georgian SSR
Stopover Sukhumi
Destination Krasnodar

Aeroflot Flight 244 was the scene of the first successful aircraft hijacking in the Soviet Union[2] on 15 October 1970 when the Lithuanian citizen Pranas Brazinskas and his son Algirdas seized an An-24 domestic passenger plane en route from Batumi, Adjar ASSR, Georgian SSR, to Sukhumi and Krasnodar to defect to the West. In a shootout on board (that occurred, according to Brazinskas words, due to resistance of two armed guards on board,[3] while according to Russian media the shootout was started by Brazinskas when flight attendant ran to cockpit to warn the pilots, and there were no single guard on board [2]) 19-year-old air-hostess Nadezhda Kurchenko was killed and several members of the crew were wounded (Brazinskas themselves remaining unharmed).[2] The hijackers commandeered the plane to Trabzon, Turkey, and surrendered to the Turkish government. The Brazinskas were tried and imprisoned, but Turkey refused to cede them to the Soviet authorities.[4] The plane with its passengers was soon returned to the USSR. After spending some time in prison, in 1974, the Brazinskas were granted amnesty and made their way to the United States where they were naturalized in 1983. The memories of the incident resurfaced again in 2002, when Algirdas Brazinskas (now known as Albert Victor White) was convicted by the court of Santa Monica of murdering his 77-year-old father Pranas Brazinskas (Frank White) during a family argument.[3][5] The Soviet Union condemned the United States for granting asylum to what it termed to be "dangerous terrorists" and pressed for their extradition. Up until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Government continued to press for the extradition of the Brazinskas, and regularly assailed what it termed American hypocrisy in harboring "terrorists who attack the aircraft of socialist countries", while pursuing very different actions against terrorists who attacked American nationals, such as in the Achille Lauro case.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pranas Brazinskas: unknown side of life (in Lithuanian). November 16, 2001
  2. ^ a b c Korobeinikov, Dmitry (5 December 2003), Dead on Arrival.
  3. ^ a b 1970 Hijacker Convicted of Murdering Father. Los Angeles Times. November 02, 2002
  4. ^ Krasnov, Vladislav (1986), Soviet defectors: the KGB wanted list, p. 125. Hoover Press, ISBN 0-8179-8231-0, ISBN 978-0-8179-8231-7
  5. ^ Hijackers' Saga: Dad Slain, Son Arrested. Los Angeles Times. February 09, 2002
  6. ^ Ginsburgs, George and Rubinstein, Alvin Z (1993), Russia and America: from rivalry to reconciliation, p. 171. M.E. Sharpe,