Pan Am Flight 281

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Pam Am Flight 281
Hijack summary
Date November 24, 1968
Summary Aircraft hijacking
Site USA and Cuba
Passengers Unknown
Crew Unknown
Survivors All
Aircraft type Boeing 707[1]
Operator Pan Am
Flight origin JFK International Airport, NY, USA
Stopover Havana, Cuba
Destination San Juan, Puerto Rico

Pan Am Flight 281 was a regularly scheduled Pan American World Airways flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was hijacked on November 24, 1968, by four men from JFK International Airport, New York City to Havana, Cuba.[2][3] U.S. jet fighter aircraft followed the plane until it reached Cuban airspace.[4]

Two of the hijackers were apprehended in the 1970s. Jose Rafael Rios Cruz was arrested in 1975; Miguel Castro was captured in 1976. Both pleaded guilty; Cruz was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Castro to 12.

A third hijacker, Luis Armando Peña Soltren, lived as a fugitive in Cuba. In October 2009, he voluntarily returned to the United States and surrendered to federal authorities. He pleaded guilty to the hijacking on March 18, 2010.[5] On January 4, 2011 he was sentenced to 15 years in prison, without the possibility of parole.[6]

Alejandro Figueroa, a woman charged as a co-conspirator in the case, was acquitted in 1969.


  1. ^ "15-Year Sentence for 1968 Hijacking". The New York Times. 2011. Retrieved 2013-03-31. 
  2. ^ "Suspect in 1968 hijacking at JFK is captured". 2009-10-12. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  3. ^ "Man arrested in '68 hijacking of flight from NY". The Associated Press. 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  4. ^ "With arrest, memories of hijacking ordeal flood back". The Associated Press. 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  5. ^ "Hijacker of Pan American Flight 281 Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court". FBI. 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  6. ^ "US man given 15 years for 1968 Cuba hijack". BBC News. 2011-01-04.