Hijackers clutched grenades and a gun and randomly battered terrified passengers after seizing a TWA airliner in 1985, a former American hostage testified.

Choking back tears, Robert G. Brown also told a court that he feared his family believed that he was the U.S. Marine reported slain during the ordeal."I was afraid that my wife and children thought I was dead," said Brown.

Brown testified Wednesday during the trial of Mohammed Ali Hamadi, who is charged with air piracy and murder in the June 14, 1985, hijacking. The Athens-to-Rome flight was diverted to Beirut and 39 Americans were held for 17 days.

U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem was shot by the hijackers and tossed out on the runway in Beirut to die. The hijackers had screamed "Marine" at Stethem while he was beaten and before he was shot, witnesses have said.

Hamadi is being tried in a heavily guarded courtroom in a Frankfurt prison.