Hijacker surrenders to end four-hour airplane siege in Spain

VALENCIA, Spain (AP) — A hijacker described as mentally unstable seized an Iberia jet Tuesday, forcing the plane to land and holding more than 100 people hostage for four hours. He surrendered peacefully after talking to his psychiatrist.
The hijacker, identified by police as Javier Gomez, was unarmed. He brandished a television remote control device that he claimed could explode a bomb, the national news agency EFE reported.
The Boeing 727 was carrying 131 people between Seville and Barcelona when it was diverted to the eastern city of Valencia. Seventeen children and one woman were released without incident about two hours later, Interior Ministry spokesman Juan Delgado said.
Among the hostages aboard Flight 1121 was the mayor of Seville, Soledad Becerill, who was in contact with the police through a mobile phone, Delgado said. Becerril was headed to a meeting in Switzerland, to promote Seville’s candidacy as host for the 2008 Olympics.
The hijacked airplane landed at Valencia’s Manises airport at 8:40 a.m. The plane was surrounded by security forces.
After Gomez surrendered, the remaining passengers and crew left the plane.