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First-Known Hijacker Gives Personal Account Of His ‘Freedom Flight’

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May 5, 2016 1:50 p.m.

First Known Hijacker Gives Personal Account Of His ‘Freedom Flight’


Frank Iszak, author, "Freedom Flight"

Related Story: First-Known Hijacker Gives Personal Account Of His ‘Freedom Flight’


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

This is KPBS Midday Edition on I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You just never know what surprises people may have for you. Have extraordinary their personal histories may be. For instance, it would believe that a peaceful elderly yoga studio in Delmar would have in his background during airplane jacking to escape communist [Indiscernible] recently I spoke with Frank Isaac. He's wrote a book about his past freedom flight. Internetworks to turn the book into a movie. Here's the interview.
Frank Iszak thank you so much for being here.
So glad to be here.
In Hungary you found yourself at the slave laborer.
Yes. I ended up in [Indiscernible] with Russian controlled [Indiscernbile -- accent] close to Hungarian cities.
And you escaped?
I did. And I became a fugitive.
In Hungary?
And Hungary. The borders that were closed. The Iron Curtain was the independent herbal border by the communist to keep people inside of the system. Escape was virtually impossible. [Indiscernible] by machine guns, hunting docs, border patrol ready to kill. According to statistics by the Hungarian government at the time, there were 700 escape attempts across the Iron Curtain in the first six months of 1956. Only seven people escape to. I was one of them.
So while you are a fugitive you met up with a friend called George. I read that what you said was, if can't crawl under the Iron Curtain maybe we can fly over it.
That was a classic statement.
Georgia supply?
He was in explant. -- Asked Pilate. I ran into him in one of my search for new job had to find a new job. This was the time that I ended up in a cement factory
The hijacking itself sounds terrifying. On the plane to group encountered a [Indiscernible] agent and apparently there are most gunfire on the plane. Tell us about that?
We presumed that one of the passengers is a KCB agent. He was a passenger. Unbeknownst to us, he was sitting in the cockpit of a relatively small aircraft. So George knocked on the door and the open the door and they saw him and immediately shut the door. They had to [Indiscernible] the door open and broke into the cockpit and there was a second police man with a gun in his hand holding the trigger. The gun was fired. There was a huge fight going on in the meantime the plane was heading down for an emergency landing. We were three or 400 feet from the ground when George got the gun away and he loaded it again and fired it into the ceiling a couple times. Pilots to their hands and said don't shoot, we give up.
You didn't know exactly where you were?
We had no idea. We did have a navigational maps. At 800 feet we broke out of the [Indiscernible] and there was in an airport. A runway. [Indiscernible] said if we go into [Indiscernible] commit suicide. [Indiscernbile -- accent] I was holding the gun to their head. Waiting for something to tell me where I am. Eventually, [Indiscernible] at the runway and I can still see the American flag flying from the antenna of the American G. -- American Jeep. There's American soldier looking at us like we were out of Mars. We were kissing the tire of the car. Is an unbelievable moment.
On ASCII Frank, since your escape from Hungary which many people have called the first civilian airline hijacking.
First successful one.
Passengers have been terrorized by plane hijacking with about the 9/11 hijackers. To ever think you started terrible trend?
It turned into a terrible trend. At the time it was escaping from [Indiscernible] into freedom. This vehicle hijacking of the plane was only of vehicle to accomplish that. The hijackers that have hijacked innocence [Indiscernible] and using it for destructive purposes.
That was Frank Iszak founder of silver age yoga in Delmar. His memoirs called Freedom Flight and its soon-to-be made into a movie.
After the usual brunch months and their families can enjoy some out-of-the-box events this Mother's Day weekend. Activities that may stretch your comfort zone. Nina Garin producer of the arts calendar is here to tell us about them on our weekend preview.
I Nina. The intergalactic nemesis novel please explain.
Yet to step out your comfort zone this weekend. Imagine a comic book come to life. And the live show with three actors. There's a sound effects artist and musician. They perform thousand comic book images are projected. Think we have a clip.
Are they just acting out random pictures or does this tell story? It actually tells the story. It's an adventure story. This particular show is about a reporter her assistant, the mysterious librarian near all fighting the impending invasion
It does tell story. Refunds called planet Earth. They do have some shows they've done in the past. There's different titles from different shows.
How's it going over with audiences?
Something this unusual is interesting. Going over really well. Is featured on Conan O'Brien, NPR did a story off-Broadway. I think it's capturing the crowd that likes comic books and likes theater. It's this cool new thing to see.
And intergalactic nemesis is Saturday night at Vista moonlight amphitheater. There's another futuristic event the film Maddock Festival. It's a day long virtual reality Festival.
This is kind of hard to explain. And said they were you're going to experience we've not watch them. A lot of easier to put on a headset. And then you experience film in a whole new way. Not just sitting at the theater looking at a screen being part of film.
So it's interactive virtual reality? Can use some examples?
I'm really looking forward to this thing called solarium. It's a large-scale installation and it has images of the sun that were captured by a NASA spacecraft. Don't know how can be but feel like you're in the sun. There's another one called sooner itches and astroid. This 20 put on a headset and it's like you're following the movement of an asteroid. If you're not into space stuff their something called Stonemilker. It's by a virtually reality artist and the musician Bjork. The music video they did. First it was in the Museum of modern Art in New York. She released it online. You can see it on YouTube. Is is a chance to see that project in person.
With the headsets, and the way you have to watch these movies, is it set up like a traditional film Festival?
Now. And a traditional festively payer money incident theater. This is can be -- you walk into the building be several things going on. Using the CM whenever you're there. Go to different rooms, different rooms will be having the film. You are just more participatory. You can choose to go all day, from 10 AM to 10 PM. Or you can buy morning pass and go for the morning or evening.
That's the three it happens all day Saturday at Atkinson Hall. There's also a concert this week from [Indiscernible] and that the popular vocal ensemble whose motto is reinventing the choir. What are they doing to begin?
With a little clip of them.
That sounds great. Tells Madonna. [ Laughter ] For this show is called local connections at the concert that focuses on composers associated with San Diego.
So were not talking about Jewel? Were talking about people like?
Like entering Britain he's an internationally composer he escaped World War II. Also, the conductor Robert Shaw. He was the music director for the San Diego Symphony. To little more highbrow and they're going to explain these connections and why they're doing the piece.
This happened three different times at three different venues. Friday at maritime, Saturday at [Indiscernible] and Sunday at May 15. We don't have time. We can go out on this music. Gregory Porter former SDSU the published anywhere?
He's playing at Jacobs music center. Is a great jazz musician.
At Gregory Porter.
I've been speaking with Nina Garin. Thank you so much for
Be sure to watch KPBS evening edition at five and 630 tonight at KPBS television. And Martha KPBS midday edition at noon. If you ever miss a show you can check out the midday edition at KPBS.or. I morning Cavanagh and I appreciate your listening. -- I Maureen Cavanaugh and I appreciate your listening.
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