MARY IMELDA DOHEY, C.V.R.N.
September 22, 1933 – June 12, 2017
Mary Dohey, was a Newfoundland born flight attendant who was the first living person to receive the award Cross of Valour, Canada’s highest award for bravery, for her conduct during the hijacking of a commercial DC-8 aircraft in 1971.
At the risk of losing her life, Dohey declined an offer of a safe release from an Air Canada DC8 to remain with her fellow crew members and pacify hijacker Paul Cini, on flight 812 from Calgary, Alberta on November 12, 1971. During eight hours of terror, the hijacker, with a black hood over his head, was armed with a shotgun and two bundles of dynamite. Mary had to hold on to the wires of the dynamite and not let them touch.
Cini threatened to take the lives of the crew and all the passengers on board the airplane. Although continually threatened with the gun, Miss Dohey spoke to the aggressor and succeeded in discouraging him from undertaking violent measures which would have killed many people. When the aircraft was diverted and landed in Great Falls, Montana, she was able to persuade the hijacker to allow all the passengers and part of the crew, including herself, to disembark. With absolutely no assurance that she would come out of the ordeal alive and because of her concern for the welfare of the remaining crew members, Mary Dohey turned down the offer of release. The hijacker wanted $1.5 million.The plane landed and the demands were passed over. There was only $50,000 in that briefcase unknown to the hijacker. Mary continued to appease the hijacker until the drama was brought to an end.
Mary Dohey graduated years earlier as a psychiatric nurse and that training and experience proved invaluable. Because of the courage she displayed during the hijacking, Dohey was awarded the Cross of Valour in December 1975.
Mary was the youngest of 14 children A celebration of Mary’s life will be held from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., on Sunday, June 25th, 2017 on the main floor at 350 Princess Royal Drive, Mississauga, ON L5B 4N1.
Online condolences/tributes can be made at http://www.forevermissed.com/ Mary-Imelda-Dohey. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thestar/obituary.aspx?n=mary-imelda-dohey&pid=185830092#sthash.agnyX9Uz.dpuf
There is a merit award named in her honour, administered by the Friends of Cape St. Mary. See more: http://www.friendsofcapestmarys.ca/