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Cyclic Hotline
11th Sep 2001, 10:48
Man Arrested for 1971 Air Canada Hijacking

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A man sought for hijacking an Air Canada flight to Cuba almost 30 years ago was arrested after his fingerprints were identified on a New York City Board of Education job application, the FBI said on Monday.

Patrick Dolan Critton, 54, was arrested at his home in Mt. Vernon, New York, on Saturday after authorities matched the fingerprints on the job form to those on a soda can he touched during the Dec. 26, 1971, flight he allegedly hijacked from Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Critton, a U.S. citizen, has been wanted by the Canadian government since January 1972 when it filed kidnapping, armed robbery and extortion charges against him.

Court papers said Critton's whereabouts have been unknown from the time of the hijacking until this year. Authorities believe he returned to the United States in 1994.

Critton was arrested on a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court with the expectation he will be extradited to Canada.

According to court papers, Air Canada flight 932 was en route to Toronto when Critton allegedly produced a gun and a grenade and demanded he be taken to Cuba. During the hijacking, he showed a U.S. passport that allegedly gave his real name.

The aircraft landed in Toronto and all passengers were allowed to leave the plane. The plane was refueled and then flown to Havana with the crew of six and the hijacker.

Once in Cuba, the hijacker exited the plane and it returned to Toronto.

During the investigation, police found a soda can that Critton was thought to have handled. In addition, five of the six crew members identified Critton as the alleged hijacker from a passport photograph.

According to the New York complaint, an investigation over the last few months led authorities to Mt. Vernon and Critton's fingerprints were obtained last month from the job application.