The hijackers, an Islamist extremist group called Komando Jihad, hijacked the DC-9 named "Woyla" en route from Palembang to Medan, ordering the pilot to fly them to Colombo, Sri Lanka. Since the plane did not have enough fuel to reach Colombo, it refueled in Penang, Malaysia, then flew instead to Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. The hijackers demanded the release of 80 Kommando Jihad members imprisoned in Indonesia, US$1.5 million in cash, and a plane to take the released prisoners to an unspecified destination. On 29 March 1981, a group of Indonesian ArmyKopassandha (now Kopassus) commandos led by Lieutenant ColonelSintong Panjaitan and Lieutenant GeneralLeonardus Benjamin Moerdani were flown into Bangkok with a chartered GarudaDC-10 which was disguised as a Garuda flight from Europe, and stormed the plane two days later. The recapture of the plane was a joint operation between the Royal Thai Air Force commandos and Indonesia's Kopassandha commandos. The Kopassus commandos who took part in the rescue trained for only three days with new weapons. One commando, Officer CadetAchmad Kirang was shot by the hijackers, as was the pilot, Captain Herman Rante, they both died several days later in Bhumibol Adulyadej Hospital in Bangkok. Two hijackers were killed in the resulting shootout. The rest of the hostages were released unharmed. Two of the hijackers surrendered, but one was shot and killed by the commandos. The leader was subsequently wounded after throwing a grenade that failed to explode, and was detained by the commandos.
The rest of the crew members and all passengers survived. The terrorist leader, Imran bin Muhammad Zein, was tried after arrival and was sentenced to death by the Central Jakarta Regional Court a few weeks later.