Incident Summary:

9/24/1971: Barbara Pliskow, a member of the White Panther Party working on behalf of the Black Liberation Army, attempted to hijack American Airlines flight 124 traveling from Detroit to New York City, United States. Pliskow carried two sticks of dynamite and a pistol in a shopping bag. She hoped to free two Black Panthers from prison, Michael D. Hill and Ronald K. Irwin, and fly them to Algeria. However, police were informed of the attack and detained Pliskow at Detroit Metropolitan Airport before the flight disembarked.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:



Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Hijacking
Successful Attack? (more) No
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Airports and Aircraft
Name of Entity American Airlines
Specific Description American Airlines Flight 124
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives Dynamite/TNT
Firearms Handgun
Weapon Details
Two sticks of dynamite and .25 caliber pistol
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Additional Information After receiving a tip of the planned hijacking from the police, the passengers deplaned the aircraft under the ruse of a mechanical failure and were held in a waiting room. Barbara Pliskow took out her gun and dynamite and stated that everyone was going to die, but she was quickly disarmed and arrested. In her purse a note signed by the Black Liberation Army was discovered stating the motives behind the attack were "because we have watched the senseless murder of political prisoners at Tombs in New York, San Quentin and Attica, we've decided to take this action. No course but to escalate. We're prepared to give life." Two other people suspected of being affiliated with the Black Panthers, Brenda Jackson and David Reddus, were charged with conspiracy for this incident.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Black Liberation Army Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Note left at scene)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 1
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
"Armed Woman Held on Hijacking Tip," New York Times, September 25, 1971.
"Police In Detroit Foil Hijack Try," Baltimore Sun, September 25, 1971.
"Woman Seized In Hijack Attempt South To Free 2 Black Panthers," Toledo Blade, September 25, 1971.