Monday, 17 February 2014

Hijacked Plane Co-Pilot Arrested In Geneva

An Ethiopian Airlines co-pilot hijacked his own plane, bound for Rome, and flew it to Geneva where he is now seeking asylum.
The Ethiopian man, who has been named as Hailemedehin Abera Tagegn, seized control of the Boeing 767 when the Italian pilot went to the toilet.
Flight ET702 with 202 passengers and crew on board had taken off from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Passengers climb down an airplane ladder with their hands on their heads as police officers stand around hijacked Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 702 at Cointrin airport in Geneva
The rope used by the co-pilot to leave the plane
After landing in the Swiss city at about 5am, the co-pilot used a rope to climb down from a cockpit window.
He surrendered to police and asked for asylum in Switzerland.
Officials said no one on the flight was injured and passengers had not been aware of the hijack.
The flight path taken by hijacked plane ET702.
The path taken by flight ET702. (Pic Flightradar24).
Redwan Hussein, Ethiopia's information minister, said the hijacker had been working with the airline for five years and had no criminal record.
Mr Hussein described him as "medically sane", which he said made the motives for his actions all the more puzzling.
"So the intention, what forced him to hijack his own plane, still beggars belief... any political, social or economic reason would not make sense to hijack your plane and be a criminal."
Police officers stand around hijacked Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 702 at Cointrin airport in Geneva
The plane had about 20 minutes of fuel left
Police spokesman Pierre Grangean said: "Just after landing, the co-pilot came out of the cockpit and ran to the police and said, 'I'm the hijacker.' He said he is not safe in his own country and wants asylum."
Swiss federal authorities are now investigating the incident and are set to press charges that could carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
FlightRadar 24 - an app for mobile devices - showed the flight circling over Geneva several times before landing.
The Boeing 767-300 plane had 20 minutes of fuel left when it landed after being guided to the runway by two Italian fighter planes.
Geneva hijack map
The plane had been on its way to Rome when it was hijacked
Sky's Harriet Hadfield, in Geneva, said the airport had not yet opened when the plane hit the runway - and passengers had to wait until it did before disembarking.
She said: "It must have been a very terrifying experience for the passengers on board.
"It seems to have been the case that passengers had to wait until the airport opened. Happily there are no injuries but it must have been a very, very frightening experience."
On why the co-pilot might have been seeking asylum, Human Rights Watch says Ethiopia's human rights record "has sharply deteriorated" over the years.
There were numerous hijackings with asylum demands during the 1990s.

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