Air travel in the 1960’s was a bit more exciting than it is now. Exciting if you didn’t mind being hijacked that is. Reluctant to cause hold-ups with check-in security, airlines were happy to let people board without checking their bags.
So it was that on 31st October 1969 Raffaele Minichiello stepped aboard Flight TWA85 with a rifle in his rucksack and no intention of getting off when the plane landed in San Francisco. He wanted to go home to Italy. Eighteen and a half hours later he got his wish as the plane finally touched down in Rome.
Fast forward 40 years and a much-changed Minichiello was back in America seeking forgiveness from those who had been affected by the hijack. First Officer Wenzel Williams and flight attendant Charlene Delmonico agreed to meet him. Minichiello expressed profound regret for what he had done and at the end of the meeting presented each person with a copy of the New Testament. Inside he had written, ‘I appreciate your forgiveness for my actions which put you in harm’s way. Please accept this book which has changed my life. God bless you so much.’
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