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John Leigh Testrake
Birth: Dec. 2, 1927
New York, USA
Death: Feb. 6, 1996
Missouri, USA

American Folk Figure. He was the pilot of a TWA Boeing 727 that was hijacked on June 14, 1985, by Shiite militiamen while en route from Athens, Greece to Rome, Italy. Taking 145 passengers and eight crew members aboard as hostages, the hijackers demanded the release of hundreds of Lebanese from Israeli jails. One passenger, United States Navy diver Robert Stethem, was shot and killed, and thrown out of the door of the plane onto the tarmac. During the ordeal, the hijackers were often photographed by a news crew with a cocked pistol at the head/neck of Captain Testrake. After sitting on the tarmac of Beirut International Airport in Lebanon for more than two weeks, the remaining passengers and crew of flight 847 were released unharmed. The most enduring image of the 17 day ordeal was Captain Testrake being interviewed in the cockpit with a terrorist's pistol held at his temple. He credited his strong religious faith for helping him withstand that ordeal, as well as the cancer that was discovered in 1994. (bio by: Bill Walker) 
 
Burial:
Richmond Memory Gardens
Richmond
Ray County
Missouri, USA
Plot: right hand section
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jun 17, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 9976
John Leigh Testrake
Added by: Ron Moody
 
John Leigh Testrake
Added by: Bill Walker
 
John Leigh Testrake
Added by: Bill Walker
 
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Dear John,I think of you so often, and how proud I am to have known you, when we both worked for the wonderful TWA. God bless you, and keep you You will always be remembered as the strong force who held it all together, that day, in 1985. I will look f...(Read more)
- linda huthmaker
 Added: May. 25, 2015

- Roses♥~
 Added: May. 25, 2015

- Cindy Flowers
 Added: May. 15, 2015
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