Is Marisol Inspired by a Real Flight 601 Air Hostess?

Shortly after Sociedad Aeronáutica de Medellín (shortened to SAM) Columbia’s HK-1274 flight took off on May 20, 1973, from Bogotá two armed men— later identified as Eusebio Borja and Francisco Solano López— hijacked the aircraft. Consequently, one of the longest plane hijackings in history, in terms of time as well as place, unfolded. With the Spanish thriller show ‘The Hijacking of Flight 601,’ Netflix explores the same hijacking incident through a fictionalized lens. As such, the show’s narrative follows Edilma Pérez and Maria Eugenia Gallo, two flight attendants who volunteer to board the hijacked Flight 601 after learning about its understaffed state with only one newbie, Marisol, on duty.

Thus, the three stewardesses find themselves facing their assailants, “Ulises” Borja and “El Toro” Solano, while actively trying to rescue themselves and the passengers from their dire predicament. Therefore, Marisol’s character, though only a secondary contributor to the plotline, may incite viewers’ curiosity regarding her basis in reality.

Marisol and Flight HK-1274’s Real-Life Flight Attendants

Most characters depicted within ‘The Hijacking of Flight 601’ are on-screen counterparts of real-life individuals with little fictitious elements added to their characters for the sake of the dramatized plot. As such, characters like Marisol’s colleagues, Edilma and Maria, can be directly traced back to the real-life flight attendants who were aboard Flight HK-1274 during the time when Eusebio Borja and Francisco Solano López were holding the aircraft and its passengers hostage. However, although a third flight attendant accompanied the two women, no records can confirm their identity.

Furthermore, given the show’s unique modifications to reality, much of Marisol’s plotline becomes disconnected from the way events unraveled in real life. For instance, Marisol’s narrative begins with her presence on Flight 601 as the sole flight attendant on duty after Edilma misses the take-off. For the same reason, once the hijackers reveal themselves and take control of the vessel, Marisol— a new recruit with little experience— becomes overwhelmed. As a result, Captain Wilches calls for reinforcements, bringing Edilma and Maria to the plane.

In real life, Perez and Gallo volunteered to board Flight HK-1274, alongside another unnamed flight attendant, while the flight was under hijack as a part of the replacement team sent to relieve the older crew who had been on the plane for more than 30 hours. According to Perez and Gallo’s accounts of the events, the old crew— including flight attendants looked exhausted, exchanging cries and hugs upon the former’s arrival. Moreover, people who were passengers aboard the flight shared their experiences in later interviews, where they emphasized the rough treatment that the stewardesses initially received.

For the same reason, even though Marisol’s storyline occasionally departs from historical accuracy, it remains authentic. Considering that the show’s creators spoke with some of the flight attendants who were a part of the real-life incident as research for their fictionalized take on the same, it’s safe to assume Marisol’s character stems from a place of authenticity. Nevertheless, a real-life counterpart cannot be named for the character. As such, Marisol remains a composite character, created by infusing numerous experiences of the real-life flight attendants involved in the 1973 Flight HK-1274 hijacking.

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