Well known Croatian political emigrant Zvonko Bušić has been found dead in his home near the Croatian city of Zadar. Daily Vecernji list reports that Bušić’s wife Julienne found him after he reportedly shot himself.
Bušić is known for hijacking a commercial TWA Boeing 727 heading from New York to Chicago in September 1976 with his wife and two others. Bušić, who was the mastermind of the operation, delivered a note to the captain in which he informed him that the airplane was hijacked, the group had five gelignite bombs on board, and another bomb was planted in a locker across from the Commodore Hotel in New York with further instructions. The group demanded that the flight go to London. Bušić and the group demanded that certain anti-Yugoslav propaganda texts must appear in the next day morning’s edition of several major American newspapers. The plane headed for Paris.
Thirty passengers were released at a refueling stop in Newfoundland. In Paris, after receiving information that their demands were met, the group surrendered to the French police, which transferred the group to the custody of the FBI. During the deactivation of the bomb at the New York hotel, an American policeman died, and one other officer was wounded.
Bušić subsequently was convicted of air piracy, spending 32 years in prison before being released on parole in July 2008. It was not the only politically charged incident Bušić was involved in. With his coordination his wife Julienne and a friend traveled to Zagreb and threw anti-Yugoslav leaflets from the Ilica skyscraper on Republic Square (now Ban Jelačić Square), after which they were arrested and imprisoned. After release, Julienne reunited with Zvonko and the pair married and moved to the U.S.