Rev. Jim Jones Has Congressman And His Team Killed On Runway While They Were Preparing To Takeoff


Rev. Jim Jones Has Congressman And His Team Killed On Runway While They Were Preparing To Takeoff  

At approximately 6:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, on November 18th, Embassy Georgetown reported in a flash cable to the Department of State that a delegation accompanying Congressman Ryan had apparently been attacked and struck by gunfire while returning from the Peoples Temple Agricultural Community in the remote northwest interior of Guyana in South America.

Congressman Leo Ryan, who is a Democrat of California, had traveled to Guyana to investigate allegations by relatives that some members of the Peoples Temple Community were being held against their will. Ryan was accompanied by a number of journalists - including a television camera crew from the National Broadcasting Company based out of San Francisco, as well as other journalists (see Department of State news flash) . He was also accompanied by the Deputy Chief of Mission of our Embassy in Georgetown - Mr. Richard Dwyer - and he was accompanied by Mr. Lane, Esquire, and another attorney, who are counsel for the Peoples Temple. 

The group traveled to Port Kaituma, which is the nearest airstrip to the Peoples Temple Community. It is about 145 miles northwest of Georgetown. The group traveled by chartered aircraft on the afternoon of November 17th. They spent the night at Jonestown - the night of November 17th to the 18th. They returned to the airstrip at Kaituma on the afternoon of November 18th. They were accompanied by some six to ten members of the Peoples Temple Community who apparently wished to leave the Community. The party was in the act of boarding two chartered aircraft which had been obtained for the trip back to Georgetown when one of the supposed members of the Community who wished to leave produced a gun and began to shoot at others who were leaving. This was in the smaller of two aircraft on the field at that time.

The aircraft quickly emptied, except for a young woman who was seriously wounded. At about the same time, a flatbed trailer pulled by a tractor appeared on the airstrip. A number of people in the trailer opened fire on Congressman Ryan and his immediate party, who were in the process of boarding the second aircraft. The gunfire also disabled this aircraft so that it could not take off. The first aircraft took of with its own crew, the young woman who had been wounded, and the aircrew of the second aircraft; and they scrambled aboard at the last minute. Early reports on these events were unclear and based entirely on the account of the incident which was given by the two aircrews when they returned to Georgetown.

Jones later told his parishioners that "The time has come to meet in another place". The parishioners of the People's Temple were given cyanide. Over 400 women, men and children died from cyanide poisoning.
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