Congo Copilot and Flight Attendant Freed, Flying Home

 - March 15, 2011, 12:48 PM

The copilot and flight attendant who were detained in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), along with the Gulfstream V they were flying, have been freed and are now on their way to Belgium and then the U.S., according to a source close to the flight crew. Meanwhile, the GV’s captain, a Nigerian contract pilot, and the passengers were forced at gunpoint to fly to Kinshasa, DRC, he told AIN, and the GV has been impounded. The captain and passengers are being held for trial, allegedly because of the large amount of cash carried into Goma, DRC, during a February 4 charter flight and plans to exchange this cash for a large amount of gold. The copilot and flight attendant are safe and healthy, according to the source, who has been in constant contact with them. After being given their passports earlier today, the copilot and flight attendant were allowed to leave and were driven three hours to Kigali, Rwanda, where they boarded the flight to Belgium, which departed early in the afternoon today (EDT). The U.S. State Department was instrumental in helping the copilot and flight attendant, the source said. The GV is managed by Arcadia Aviation of New York City and registered to Southlake Aviation of Irving, Texas.