‘The Hijacking Of Flight 601’ Recap & Ending Explained: Were The Hijackers Finally Arrested?

Spanish shows that come from the Latin American region tend to be overly dramatic. Romantic shows are often unbelievable and too cheesy, while crime thrillers will be filled with unnecessary twists and turns and too many convolutions in the end. Fortunately, The Hijacking of Flight 601 is subtle and emotional, and all the excesses mentioned above were reigned in. This six-episode miniseries chronicles the ordeal the crew and the passengers of Flight 601 faced when the flight was brought under the control of two hijackers. Based on a true story, there is a lot that unfolds as the series progresses. 


Spoilers Ahead

Why Didn’t Edilma Board The Flight?

Set in 1973, the show begins by focusing on Edilma, a single mother of three boys. Her oldest son, William, helps her with his younger siblings as she is a full-time air hostess. She had a flight to catch early in the morning, which was marred by his son’s broken tooth, and she had to delay her reporting time. Her best friend at work, Barbara, covered for her till the boarding happened and hoped Edilma would show up on time to be able to board the flight 601 from Bogota to Cali. Edilma never disclosed that she had children to her employers, as she would be asked to quit. 


What Happened To Flight 601 To Cali?

Edilma did not make it to the flight on time, and the pilot and the co-pilot took off with only one stewardess on board, who was a fresher on the job. On reaching a certain altitude, two men hijack the flight. One had a pistol tied to his legs, while the other had a gun hidden in a cake box. The hijackers forced the pilots to fly to Medellin for a refueling, planning to head to Cuba from there on. The air hostess on board had passed out of fear. The news of the hijack was made known to the airline office, and they tried to pacify the situation.

Edilma was sadly fired from the job a while before the news of the hijack. The director of Aero Bolivar Airlines, Aristides Pirateque, was informed about the same, and he had his contingency put in motion to make sure his crew remained safe, and the media did not have a field day by branding the airline incompetent. The first plan of action was to send an experienced stewardess on board. Edilma chose to join the hijacked plane, provided her job was reinstated and there would be no threat to it for the next five years. She was headed to Medellin after agreeing and was joined by Barbara, who never understood the gravity of the situation.


How Was Aristides Pirateque Negotiating With The Hijackers?

Informing the pilot about their planned flight to Cuba was just a decoy, as the hijackers forced the pilot to fly to Aruba, a far-off island in the Caribbean. This came as a surprise to everyone on board and in Bogota. Aristides Pirateque had his assistant, Miss Manchola who not only helped with all the administrative work but she was by his side during this crisis. Pirateque did not realize he could negotiate with the hijackers, Ulises, and Toro. The hijackers had asked for two hundred thousand dollars as ransom, and they kept mentioning the release of the young students who were in jail. 

Aristides Pirateque wouldn’t begin the negotiation until some of the passengers were released from the plane. Edilma figured out a solution when she found a frantic woman inside the lavatory and requested that she pretend to be a pregnant woman so that she could be used to negotiate with the hijackers. After a lot of back and forth between Bogota and the hijackers, there was some consideration given to women and children on board, and this made Aristides Pirateque realize his negotiations were on the right path. To his horror, the owner of the airline was not keen on the negotiation as he wanted the government to take over. Dr. Alberto of Aero Bolivar Airlines had to interfere and did not let Pirateque do any better at this job. Pirateque ousted Dr. Alberto from making any decisions regarding the hijacking through a vote from the board.


Why Did The Plane Leave From Aruba?

As the ransom from the airlines was prepared, the President of Colombia declared there would be no negotiations with the terrorists, which put Pirateque’s plan to save his people from the flight on hold.  Colombia had requested that Aruba execute a military action to rescue the passengers. Pirateque decided to head to Aruba himself to deliver their money in the hope of rescuing his people. 

Pirateque arrived at the Aruba landing strip discreetly with the money and offered the same to the hijackers in no time. Since part of the actual ransom amount was shared, the hijackers released all the women and children, especially the ones who claimed to be pregnant. Edilma was happy the mission worked because this would mean they could be going back to Bogota in no time.


Edilma and Barbara formed a plan to sprinkle crushed sleeping pills in the food for the hostages and hoped to send the remaining passengers down the exit from the rear end of the plane. The hijackers were drowsy after the meal, but they snorted some narcotics that made them alert. The crew did not have time to wait, so they began to deboard the passengers as planned, and one of them took the machine gun away with him. Many men were rescued this way, but this forced the hijackers to leave Aruba and demanded the pilot to take off at gunpoint.

How Did Ulises And Toro Become Hijackers?

The story of Ulises and Toro had to be told to understand what circumstances made them turn to a life of crime and become hijackers. They were merely two football players getting themselves trained in a meager camp and had a coach who was not a nice man.  The real names of the hijackers were Eusebio and Mosquito, who wanted to become champion football players, a sport that was a big deal in much of Latin America. The coach constantly harassed them for fees, and this was followed by bad meals provided at the training camp that anguished the two young men further. They got in touch with the so-called ‘professor’ who had some socialist-adjacent ideology, which was on the rise in the Latin American region thanks to Cuba, which was considered a communist haven. Carried away by the professor’s words, Eusebio and Mosquito rob their coach and brutally assault him for luring them into this camp and treating them like slaves. The professor inculcated the idea that people are not anyone’s servants or slaves, and they should rise and speak up against fascism and suppression by chanting revolution or death. The men were removed from the camp, but the idea of hijacking a plane to spread the message of idealist communism was instilled in them by the professor, who killed himself accidentally. To keep his words alive, these two boys went on to hijack the plane without understanding the repercussions of their actions. The boys were not a militia, but two people who got brainwashed into carrying out a crime of great magnitude, and the only solution was to hold people at gunpoint to make their demands heard. 


What Happened At Lima Airport?

After taking off from Aruba with a few passengers and the crew on board, all of them were falling sick one by one as the plane was traveling from city to city only for refueling. None of the countries were willing to be the negotiators as per the orders of the Colombian government, which was not willing to make any deals with hijackers. They had to stop at Lima in Peru out of sheer desperation, and the flight landed on a wasteland next to the runway strip. The hijackers were willing to remove the stewardess from the flight when the Peruvian police began to shoot at the flight, which injured Toro (Mosquito). The standoff with the Peruvian police was the last straw for the pilot, who decided to fly back to Bogota. 

Why Did The Pilot Decide To Fly To Bogota?

The pilot was done being a slave to the hijackers, who had begun to show their emotional side. The stewardesses helped Toro recover from the gunshot wound. This was shown to let the viewers feel empathetic towards the staff on board, whose job it was to take care of the people. Barbara and Edilma hated the situation, as they wanted to get back home, but they were duty-bound to make sure the hijackers and the passengers stayed alive. The pilot and the co-pilot were desperate as well because they were tired of the charade, as the hijackers were losing control over their faculties because they had been on board for so long. Edilma was against the idea of going back to Bogota, as she did not want to die. The terrorists had explosives that would kill them all. There was a standoff in the flight as a result. 


What Happened To Aristides Pirateque?

Pirateque was sadly in a soup because of his move to go against the government’s diktat to not negotiate with the terrorists. He had to face the brunt of his actions, and the then defense minister gave him only one option: not to resign but to take the fall for the blunder that had taken place. Pirateque had tried to do the right thing by saving the passengers. The risk cost him a lot, as he was sent to prison for seventeen years. His one move was disregarded, but he came out a happy man as he married his longtime assistant, Miss Manchola. 

Were The Hijackers Finally Captured?

The plane had finally landed in Bogota, but only with the crew, co-pilot, and the rest of the passengers. The pilot and the hijackers were nowhere to be found. The passengers were let go, but the crew was being questioned about what happened to the pilot and the hijackers. Since the standoff on board was crucial, the pilot and the rest of the crew came to an agreement that would be a win-win situation for everyone. The crew remained tight-lipped and vague about the situation with the pilot and the hijackers, but since they had agreed on the flight, they could not betray anyone to save the lives of their pilot. It was a tricky situation, but the airlines and the Vice President of Colombia were not above threatening the crew’s families. They chose to remain tight-lipped until the pilot arrived because they wouldn’t want to harm him by revealing the location where the plane landed discreetly. None of the crew wanted to be branded as co-conspirators, as the government would have expected them to become martyrs in the process. Edilma could not afford to turn her children into orphans, and this was the only way to save them all, including herself. 


The pilot reached Bogota only to reveal that the hijackers had wanted to take Barbara and Edilma hostage instead of setting the passengers and the pilots free. The chief pilot offered himself in return, and he was let go from the dense jungle as the hijackers went their own way.  There was no way to trace the hijackers from the jungles. The pilot’s words and his ordeal were taken in as official statements, followed by the stewardess and the co-pilot, who chose to stick as a team and never really revealed what happened. The plan was the same as stated by the pilot, but the narrative was flipped, making it look like the pilot had no option but to sacrifice for the greater good. 

The Hijacking of Flight 601 ended with, as mentioned above, Pirateque being jailed for breaking the cardinal rule set by his government. This could have been Dr. Alberto’s political move as well to reestablish himself as the sole decision-maker of the airline. Toro, the hijacker, was caught, but Ulises was never caught by the government. Edilma continued working for the airline as she had three mouths to fill, and no one from the airline had an objection to her being a mother. The pilot and the co-pilot were given bravery awards for their daring journey and for saving almost all the passengers and crew. Barbara, on the other hand, quit her high-flying life after she was back and moved away from the noise of the city that a while ago kept her going. She met up with Ulises, with whom she had developed a bond, thus proving they could be in love. 


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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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