Santa Maria Man Arrested in Helicopter Hijack Attempt

Zachary Hinders Reportedly Said He Was Ordered by Fidel Castro

A 21-year-old Santa Maria resident who said he was acting under the orders of Fidel Castro tried to hijack a helicopter at the Yuba County Airport last Thursday.

Yuba County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Lt. Damon Gil said Zachary Hinders sprinted toward the commercial chopper and jumped in the back seat at around 4:30 p.m. shortly after it landed. Once inside, Hinders started shouting and gesticulating wildly, demanding the pilot take off. He was not carrying a weapon, said Gil.

Zachary Hinders
Click to enlarge photo

Yuba County Sheriff's Department

Zachary Hinders

The pilot responded by getting out of his seat, walking around to Hinders, and telling him to get out, said Gil. Hinders refused at first but eventually exited the helicopter and ran away. Deputies arrested him shortly thereafter and charged him with burglary. He’s being held in the Yuba County Jail.

Gil said there was no indication that drugs or alcohol played a role in the incident, and he said Hinders’s motive is unknown. He explained, though, that deputies had made contact with Hinders earlier in the day when they received calls he was “acting strangely” in the front yard of a nearby home. Unable to charge him with any crime, deputies transported him to the house where he was staying.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Jack Johnson Tours Montecito Disaster Area Ahead of Benefit Concert

Jack and Kim Johnson met with Bucket Brigade leaders to see the destruction firsthand.

Iron Chef Caused State Street Pedestrian Death

Famous Chef Larry Forgione charged with misdemeanor for driving into Gilbert Ramirez on February 24.

Lavagnino’s Sudden Victory

5th District supervisor a shoo-in as filing window closes; Gregg Hart also unopposed for 2nd District.

One Half of Old Town Streets to Get Sidewalks

Walkways planned for one side of Goleta neighborhood streets; parking, lighting talks at community meeting March 22.

After Disaster in Montecito, Where Is All the Money Going?

Santa Barbara nonprofits account for millions spent on relief efforts.