Pilot of hijacked CanJet aircraft says he and crew dont feel like heroes

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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HALIFAX - Capt. James Murphy, the pilot of the CanJet airliner hijacked Sunday by a deranged Jamaican gunman, has made his first public comments about the ordeal, saying he and his crew don't feel like heroes and they need time to recover in private.
Murphy, who is based in the Halifax area, issued a brief statement Wednesday that said the crew of Flight 918 did what they were trained to do.
Still, the captain made it clear the harrowing incident on the tarmac in Montego Bay has taken an emotional toll on many of those aboard the aircraft.
"All of us who were on board Flight 918 a few days ago have had to live through one of the worst nightmares of every passenger, pilot, and flight attendant," Murphy said.
"As professionals, we are trained to deal with what happened, but living through it is something else."
The crew has been widely praised for remaining calm and quickly persuading the lone gunman to set free all 159 passengers and two crew members - including Murphy - in exchange for their belongings and money.
One passenger has said the gunman fired the weapon near Murphy's face, but that claim has yet to be confirmed. Other witnesses said the hijacker sprayed another crew member with a fire extinguisher, while repeatedly demanding to be flown to "America."
Eight hours after the hijacking began, the tall, young gunman was disarmed when Jamaican commandos stormed the Boeing 737.
Incredibly, nobody was injured.
"We've been called heroes," Murphy said. "We certainly don't feel like heroes. We did what we had to do and what we were trained to do. The passengers for whom we were responsible coped so well and that should never be forgotten."
Murphy said he and the crew appreciate the support and praise they've received from their families, their union, the passengers, CanJet and people across the country.
But he stressed it was too early for them to publicly discuss what happened at Sangster International Airport.
"We know people want to hear about the experience directly from us. Someday we may feel able to talk openly about it. But right now, we need some privacy."
In Montego Bay, the company responsible for security at the airport said a preliminary report found their unarmed security team followed proper procedures when confronted by the armed intruder.
MBJ Airports Ltd., which is partially owned by Vancouver Airport Services, said the report also found that the subsequent response by the Jamaican Constabulary Force was "exceptional."
However, the company's statement did not explain how the man slipped past security and managed to enter the aircraft as it was being boarded.
Jamaican authorities have confirmed the gunman was apprehended by Canadian-trained members of an elite Jamaican counter-terrorism squad.
At one point during the hijacking, the squad secretly removed First Officer Glenn Johnson from the aircraft by pulling him through an open window of the locked cockpit.
Two members of the squad entered the cockpit and later pounced on the hijacker when he became particularly agitated.

Organizations: CanJet, Boeing 737, Sangster International Airport MBJ Airports Vancouver Airport Services

Geographic location: HALIFAX, Montego Bay, America

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