Dancing in the Sea is the beautifully written and moving account of Catherine Hill's horrific experience of a hijack, after which she was left permanently disabled.When she was 25, Catherine and her Italian boyfriend Picci went travelling through India. On their journey home their Pan Am flight from Bombay to Germany was hijacked when it landed in Pakistan to pick up additional passengers. Four PLO terrorists took over the aircraft and the hostages endured about 17 hours of terror. Convinced that the Pakistani troops were about to try and rescue the hostages, the terrorists forced as many people as possible into the aisles and attempted to massacre them using machine guns and grenades. Twenty-two people died and more than one hundred and fifty were injured. Catherine was among them. During the years that followed, Catherine endured a horrendous series of over 20 operations as surgeons attempted to heal her mutilated body; nobody was able to help with the psychological scars such a trauma had inflicted.
Throughout that time, her love story with Picci if anything intensified, and he supported her as she began a fight to win compensation from the airline with whom they had been travelling, Pan Am. Told with unflinching candour, the story combines terror, medical negligence and courtroom drama with love, both between the couple and for Italy, which became her home.
Catherine Hill was born in Watford in 1959. After completing her degree in English Literature and History of Art at Leeds University, she undertook a TEFL course and taught English to foreign students in London. She then travelled to Italy, and has lived in Milan ever since, now working for a company that teaches foreign immigrants. She and Picci are still together and have recently moved to an old Lombardy farmhouse that they renovated.