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 John Leigh Testrake

John Leigh Testrake

Birth
Ripley, Chautauqua County, New York, USA
Death 6 Feb 1996 (aged 68)
Saint Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri, USA
Burial Richmond, Ray County, Missouri, USA
Plot right hand section
Memorial ID 9976 · View Source
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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


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 17 Jun 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9976
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Leigh Testrake (2 Dec 1927–6 Feb 1996), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9976, citing Richmond Memory Gardens, Richmond, Ray County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .