Airliner Hijacker Returns to U.S. After 30 Years

William Potts has been living in Cuba since forcing plane to land there in 1984

  • Share
  • Read Later

Almost three decades after hijacking a commercial airliner and making it land in Cuba, the highjacker returned to the U.S. and was taken into custody, according to the FBI.

William Potts, 56, has been living in Cuba since 1984, when he pulled a gun and forced an airplane headed for Florida to reroute and land in the Communist country. Potts, then a member of the militant African-American Black Panther movement, expected Cuban officials to provide guerrilla training.

Rather, he was jailed for more than 13 years for air piracy. Potts was released and granted permanent residency, but he is now seeking “closure” in his return home, hoping the U.S. judicial system will consider his time served in Cuba as punishment, the Associated Press reports.

“I’ve got kind of mixed emotions, let me say that at least, about touching American soil for the first time in nearly 30 years,” he said. “So much has changed, and I’m just going to have to wait and see what it looks like when I get there.”

Potts was escorted from the airport to an FBI office in Miami after his charter plane landed, the BBC reports. He’s scheduled to make an appearance in a U.S. court Thursday.

American and Cuban officials have not commented on his impending return, but Potts said he plans to return to Cuba.

“Just as soon as I finish taking care of this business in the United States, I certainly have every intention of returning to Cuba to live.”