At the hijackers’ request, Flight 847 was diverted away from Rome and towards Beirut International Airport in Lebanon. As the detour was unplanned, however, air traffic control at first denied the plane permission to land there. Eventually, though, Testrake was able to convince the authorities to agree to his request.
“He has pulled a hand grenade pin and is ready to blow up the aircraft if he has to,” Testrake told the controller, according to a transcript published by the Associated Press in 1985. “We must, I repeat, we must land at Beirut. No alternative.”