1958 Cubana Airline Hijacker living in Hialeah

Hank Tester from NBC6 finds Edmundo Ponce de Leon, the alleged mastermind behind the 1958 Cubana Airlines hijacking that killed 14 innocent people, living free and unmolested in Hialeah:

Alleged Cubana Hijacker Living in Hialeah

More than 50 years after the first international airline hijacking originating on American soil departed Miami and crashed in Cuba, a man witnesses and relatives say was responsible has never been charged — and is living in Miami-Dade

More than 50 years later, he is an elderly man living in Hialeah with his wife.

It was a picture perfect November day in Miami in 1958.

The airport was busy, and Cubana Airlines Flight 495 was taking on passengers, baggage and cargo loaded for a routine flight from Miami to Varadero Beach and then on to Havana, Cuba.

In Cuba, Fidel Castro was on the brink of taking over the island and the Batista government forces were crumbling, but air service to Cuba had not been interrupted.

At the controls of the Vickers Viscount Propjet on the runway at Miami International Airport were Capt. Ruskin Medrano and Capt. Jose Combarro. The winds were coming in from the southwest and it was 80 degrees outside. The British-made Vickers Viscount rolled down the runway and began a historic flight.

It would be the first-ever international airline hijacking originating from the United States. Fourteen people, including the crew, would die that day.

“Two of them went all the way to the front of the cabin to open a door on the floor and brought out machine guns, helmets, uniforms, boots,” said passenger Osiris Martinez of the hijackers.

As the plane continued south, then 16-year-old Ormara Gonzalez got a good look at the armed lead-hijacker who was demanding the plane land in eastern Cuba.

“I remember his eyes. He looked at me often. I remember his white shoes,” Gonzalez said. “The hijackers argued about killing the pilot.”

Members of his own family say Edmundo Ponce de Leon was the alleged mastermind behind the hijacking.

According to unclassified U.S. State Department documents, Ponce de Leon was identified as being one of the hijackers by survivors from photographs shortly after the crash. He is an American citizen and was also a U.S. Air Force veteran.

More than 50 years later, he is an elderly man living in Hialeah with his wife.

Continue reading the story HERE.

4 thoughts on “1958 Cubana Airline Hijacker living in Hialeah”

  1. Old news to be sure, but it’s great to see it come to light again. Nice job by the reporter-perhaps with a little encouragement he will be motivated to expose more of castro’s murderers living in South Florida.

  2. Seeing Wayne Smith makes me ill. In the piece he says, “This was a matter of a few guys in Florida saying they were members of 26 of July and hijacking a plane.” Clearly he is trying to minimize the hijacking as a coordinated action by fidel’s revolutionary movement. I bet he said a whole lot more trying to create distance between fidel, his rebels and the hijacking.

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