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Soviet Passenger Plane Reportedly Hijacked to China

December 25, 1985|United Press International

PEKING — A hijacked Soviet passenger plane landed with about 50 people aboard in a remote part of northeastern China near the Soviet border, sources said Tuesday.

An airport employee in the city of Hailar, 70 miles from the Sino-Soviet border, said the Soviet aircraft landed there Saturday and "has already left" for an unknown destination.

He said he did not know what type of aircraft it was nor when the plane left. He referred callers to the Qiqihar airport, 250 miles to the southeast in neighboring Heilongjiang province.

"Concerning this Soviet plane incident, it is a secret," said an official at the Qiqihar airport. "It is impossible to tell you about it."

A Chinese Foreign Affairs official in Hailar said he did not know whether the Soviet aircraft was still in China. East European diplomats based in Peking said there were about 50 people aboard the aircraft.

Chinese Foreign Ministry officials and the Soviet Embassy in Peking refused to confirm or deny the incident. "I have no information about it," said a Soviet diplomat in Peking.

According to unconfirmed reports, Chinese officials returned Tuesday from three days of nonstop negotiations in Hailar, attempting to arrange for the return of the plane and passengers to the Soviet Union.

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