26. January 2011 · Comments Off on Hijacked · Categories: B. Family Legends · Tags: ,


My cousin Delsa da Costa lived in Hong Kong with her family (her mother was Sarah Cotton).  In 1948, she was 22 years old.  She loved her new job.  She was an “air hostess” for Cathay Pacific, a job so new and dangerous that she had just been interviewed about it for an article in Woman magazine.

On July 16, 1948, she was part of the crew that flew on the “Miss Macao” returning from Macau to Hong Kong.  Oh yes, they named the planes.  Flying was very different.  There were no seat belts, no long lines, no baggage checks, nada.  That was the problem.  Rumors had it that people stuffed their flight bags with gold bullion when they flew out of Macau to Hong Kong.   Why else would they fly that short distance? The ferry was much more fun.  It took three hours, but there was a band, dancing, food and even private cabins. The “Miss Macao” seated 23 people and had only one icebox for cold drinks.  Besides, it was amphibious and landed on the water. You had to take a boat to board the plane, but the tail of the plane had the Union Jack emblazoned on it, and everyone thought their gold would be safe.  No one thought anyone would hijack the plane.  There had been only 6 hijacking of planes in the world, and they had all been political.   This would be the first commercial hijacking.

Four pirates posing as passengers planned to fly the plane to the village of Nam Mun, loot it and abandon the passengers and crew in the rugged mountains of Seong Chong.  Something went terribly wrong.   The pilot was accidentally shot in the head and slumped over the controls.  Before the co-pilot could move his body, the plane nose-dived into the sea.  The only survivor was a pirate, who was sucked out through the port blister before the plane hit the water and turned into flotsam.  He was rescued by a fisherman in a junk.  Parts of the plane but no bodies were recovered.


 Delsa da Costa


Delsa da Costa

Captain Charles ‘Chic’ Eather has posted the definitive cloak and dagger details of this story (21 pages).