How Did Toro and Borja Escape? Where Are They Now?

Francisco “Toro” Solano and Eusebio Borja escape mysteriously after hijacking Aerobolivar’s Flight 601 in Netflix’s crime drama series ‘The Hijacking of Flight 601.’ The hijacked aircraft, which leaves from Bogotá, Colombia, eventually ends up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The authorities retrieve the crew members from the plane but fail to find the two hijackers. In reality, Francisco Solano López and Óscar Eusebio Borja escaped upon striking a deal with the aircraft’s pilots and attendants. After disappearing from the plane, Francisco was eventually captured by the authorities in his home country. Eusebio’s fate, however, is different from what happened to his co-hijacker!

Francisco and Eusebio’s Escape

Francisco Solano López and Óscar Eusebio Borja decided to escape from the Sociedad Aeronáutica de Medellín’s HK-1274 aircraft, the real-life counterpart of Aerobolivar’s Flight 601, around sixty hours after hijacking the same. By then, the only individuals inside the plan were the crew members. Francisco and Eusebio initially planned to take Edilma Pérez and María Eugenia Gallo, the two attendants who remained on the flight, hostage. Eusebio and Francisco wanted to separate and leave the plane after landing in Resistencia, Argentina, and Asunción, Paraguay, respectively with the air hostesses to buy enough time to escape from the authorities.

When Pedro Ramírez, the co-pilot of the plane, learned about the plan, he offered to join the hijackers instead of Edilma. The predicament was resolved with a “gentlemen’s agreement.” The pilots and attendants promised Eusebio and Francisco that they wouldn’t reveal the specifics of their escape to the authorities to give them enough time to disappear from the two airports. The hijackers agreed and the flight went first to Resistencia. “In Resistencia, they touched down on the runway but didn’t stop the plane. The plane circled around and when it went into a blind spot, the chief hijacker [Eusebio] jumped out with half the money,” Massimo Di Ricco, who wrote the source text of the show ‘Los Condenados del Aire,’ said while appearing in NPR’s ‘Radio Ambulante’ podcast.

After Eusebio’s escape, Francisco left the plane in Asunción. “They did the same at the Asunción airport. When they touched down, Captain [Hugo] Molina asked the runway lights to be turned off. The plane turned around and the second pirate jumped,” added Massimo.

Francisco and Eusebio’s Lives After the Hijack

Francisco and Eusebio remained anonymous for a while but their Paraguayan accent opened a window into their identities. Their decision to leave the plane in Paraguay and an Argentinian region near the Paraguayan border further convinced the truth-seekers that they were Paraguayans. Pereira, the Colombian city where the hijacking began, at the time had a Paraguayan community of soccer players. It is believed that one of the members of the same group alerted the officials when rumors started to spread regarding the Paraguayan identities of the hijackers. Eventually, Francisco was arrested in Asunción, where he was living in a rented house not far away from his family.

By the time of his arrest, Francisco had spent five thousand dollars he garnered from the Sociedad Aeronáutica de Medellín. The authorities seized the remaining money. “I was tired of being hungry and miserable, so I decided to hijack the plane,” he said after his arrest, as per Massimo. He also revealed that he wasn’t a part of any political party as he claimed. Francisco was initially imprisoned in a prison in Asunción, where he “staged” a twenty-four-hour-long “riot.” Regardless of his actions, he couldn’t avoid his extradition to Colombia. He was in a Medellín prison for five years. Francisco wanted to write a book detailing how he and Eusebio orchestrated the hijacking but such an account was never published.

Massimo’s research into the hijacking took him to multiple people who knew Francisco, who heard a rumor that the hijacker got shot in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during a bank robbery. “It is very difficult to keep track of Solano López from the moment he was jailed. In fact, we found no records in the Colombian prison system [about] when he was released. And in the newspapers, it stopped being news. In Pereira there is a rumor that he died years later, during a bank robbery in Buenos Aires,” the author added in the same NPR podcast.

As per the last-known detail about Eusebio, the hijacker was in San Andrés, a coral island in the Caribbean Sea which is a part of Colombia. Massimo learned the information from Gonzalo Valencia, a sports journalist who had met the two soccer players before they became hijackers. Valencia came to know that five years after the hijacking, Eusebio contacted members of the Paraguayan community in Pereira while he was “vacationing” on the Colombian island. Since then, he has remained disappeared. Massimo, along with the show’s creators Pablo Gonzalez and C.S. Prince, believes that he can be still alive.

Read More: Maria Eugenia Gallo (Barbara): Who is the Flight 601 Stewardess?