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December 28, 1999
Power restored to aircraft
Indian Airlines technicians repaired Flight 814's Auxiliary Power Unit on Tuesday, restoring power to the Airbus 300. A masked hijacker emerged from the plane as the IA technicians repaired the APU. He was about 6 feet tall, dressed in a red shirt and trousers.
As a consequence of the APU breakdown, talks between the seven member Indian team and the hijackers were affected by poor communication. The negotiations were also interrupted by the frequent breaks for Ramzan prayers, Aviation Secretary Ravinder Gupta informed reporters this evening.
Indian Airlines manager Vikram Badshah told relatives of the hostages on Tuesday that the communication link with the aircraft kept getting disrupted on Monday night. As the APU failed, the aircraft had no electrical supply either for most of Tuesday. However, the Airbus doors were thrown open, allowing the passengers to feel the cool Kandahar air.
The two-member Indian medical team was, however, not permitted to visit the passengers and assess their condition.
The discussions with the hijackers continued till early Tuesday morning, broke off for a while and resumed at around 1000 local time.
Breakfast -- eggs, bread and mineral water -- was served to the crew and passengers on Tuesday morning. On Monday, the hijackers had twice refused food in protest against the Taleban's decision to surround the aircraft with armed personnel. The Taleban militia increased their presence around the Airbus after the hijackers threatened to kill the hostages at 1340 local time yesterday.
Relatives of the passengers met with the prime minister again on Tuesday morning, even as aviation ministry officials informed them that the flow of information would be selective to protect the lives of family and friends still aboard Flight 814.
NIGHTMARE ON FLIGHT 814
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