REFUGEES: The Copter Caper

Despite détente, the Iron Curtain is still a forbidding barrier for Eastern Europeans who would like to live in the West. To penetrate it, desperate refugees swim rivers, crawl under barriers or run a murderous gauntlet of barbed wire, savage patrol dogs and armed guards. One of the boldest escapes of all was carried out last week by an American pilot, Barry Meeker, who whisked three escapees from Czechoslovakia by helicopter.

A Viet Nam veteran who had been shot down seven times on chopper missions, Meeker, 33, had secretly and uneventfully flown a total of eight refugees out of Czechoslovakia...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!