I love the movie Argo, which tells the story of how Canada and CIA operative Tony Mendez smuggled out a cadre of six U.S. diplomats from Tehran during the Iran Hostage Crisis. In the gripping conclusion (full of artistic embellishment but nevertheless riveting), hearts pound as the Swissair 747 bound for Zürich gently ascends out of Mehrabad Airport to the consternation of the Revolutionary Guard and continue to pound until the aircraft safely leaves Iranian airspace. But thankfully, not all smuggling operations are successful. A mother’s quest to use United Airlines to help kidnap her child on Thursday failed two hours into the 13.5-hour flight.
A United Airlines flight traveling to China from the U.S. on Thursday was turned around in mid-air after a mother who had kidnapped her child was discovered on board.
The woman had taken her child from his father on a flight bound for Beijing out of Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.
The FBI contacted Flight 897 in mid-air and asked that it return to D.C. soon after its midday takeoff. The plane landed back at the airport around 5pm.
It seems mommy and daddy were having a custody dispute and mommy and grandma decided to take the child and run…from Washington to Beijing. The plan almost worked…check-in was successful, boarding was successful, and the plane took off on-time and was scheduled for an early arrival into Beijing.
But daddy caught wind of the plot and contacted the FBI, who ordered the plane to turn around as it began crossing the Hudson Bay. UA897 turned into a 4hr41min flight from Washington Dulles to Washington Dulles.
Back at IAD, mommy was arrested (grandma was not) and the child immediately reunited with daddy.
A new crew had to be compiled and the flight took off again around 8pm ET.
In all seriousness, I am glad this story had a happy ending. Perhaps the child is better off in China, but dashing off with your little one on a 7,000 mile journey in the middle of a custody battle is no way to win. Looks like mommy won’t be seeing junior anytime soon.