KARACHI, Pakistan — Authorities formally charged the four accused Palestinian hijackers of Pan Am Flight 73 with murder, and the death toll in the blood bath rose to 19, hospital and law enforcement sources said today.
The four hijackers were seized by Pakistani commandos Friday after they hurled grenades and sprayed gunfire at 383 passengers held inside the Pan Am jumbo jet for 16 hours. More than 150 people were injured.
Federal investigative sources said the four men admitted under interrogation that they wanted to take the jet to Cyprus, where they planned to exchange the hostages for three accused Palestinian guerrillas charged with the Yom Kippur killing of three Israelis on a yacht in Larnaca.
But the hijack plot was botched at its outset when the airliner's captain and cockpit crew escaped through an emergency hatch, leaving the plane immobilized.
19th Victim Dies
A Pakistani security source said the four suspects were charged Sunday with murder, illegal arms possession, hijacking and conspiracy.
Other sources from Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency said the four men--one hospitalized and three reportedly held at an undisclosed army camp--were remanded in custody for 14 days without bail.
Hospital sources said the 19th victim, Jose Alvarez of Mexico, died of injuries today at P. N. S. Shifra Hospital. They also said another man, a Pakistani, has been declared brain-dead at Jinnah Hospital and will probably become the 20th victim of the attack once his brother arrives to give permission to shut off his respirator.
Hospital sources identified the dead as 13 Indians, 2 Americans, 2 Pakistanis, the Mexican and an unidentified child thought to be about 10 years old.
2nd American Identified
Naturalized U.S. citizen Rajesh Kumar of Huntington Beach, Calif., was shot in the first hours of the hijacking.
In Washington today, State Department spokesman Bruce Ammerson identified the second slain American as Surendra Manubhal Patel, 50. He said she was from California.
An investigative source in Pakistan said four teams of investigators are searching Karachi for accomplices to the hijacking. Investigators believe three other Palestinians helped plan Friday's hijack attempt.
In Perugia, Italy, police sources said they believe that the accused hijack leader, identified as Gomer Hussein, was enrolled in 1984 at Perugia University for Foreigners. Italian media have dubbed Perugia a "crossroads of terrorism." Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca enrolled there before his May 13, 1981, assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II.