Xinhuanet Beijing, February 18th Comprehensive Xinhua News Agency reporters reported that a passenger plane of Ethiopian Airlines was forced to land at Geneva Airport in Switzerland after being hijacked on the 17th. The local police in Geneva said the hijacker was the co-pilot of the aircraft. The suspect has been detained by the police and the incident has not caused any casualties.
The flight number ET702 was originally scheduled to fly from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, to Rome, the capital of Italy. However, the Air Egypt website issued a statement on the 17th that the passenger plane was forced to land at the Geneva airport, about 200 passengers and crew “all safety”. According to Ethiopian national television, there are 193 passengers, including 140 Italians.
Geneva Airport spokesperson Bertrand · Stumpfley subsequently confirmed that the aircraft was hijacked. The reporter learned from the Geneva International Airport that the plane was forced to land at Geneva International Airport at around 6 pm local time, and the police immediately closed the airport.
The Geneva police issued a statement later, confirming that the situation was “controlled” and that the hijacking incident had been successfully resolved. The police arrested a suspect and the passengers and crew were safe.
A picture from the scene shows that the Swiss riot police surrounded the Boeing 767 aircraft that docked at the end of the airport runway. The crew on the plane held their heads in both hands, and then walked down the ramp under the escort of the police officers. Soon after, the Geneva airport announced its reopening.
The Geneva police confirmed that the plane was hijacked while sailing over northern Italy. The hijackers were passenger jets. The co-pilot was an Ethiopian born in 1983, claiming to be threatened by personal safety in Ethiopia, so he hijacked to seek asylum in Switzerland.
It is said that when the co-pilot was on the toilet, he locked the cockpit door, seized the control of the aircraft and issued a hijack code.
A police spokesperson said that the flight was delayed at the Geneva International Airport. The suspected hijacker climbed out of the cockpit with the emergency escape rope on board. He did not carry weapons and did not cause damage to the passengers and crew on board. After coming out of the cockpit, I ran to the police and said, “I am a hijacker. I am not safe in my own country. I have to take refuge.”
According to media reports, shortly after the incident, a radio call that was alleged to be on-board personnel and ground control tower staff was recorded on the microblogging site “Twitter”. During the recording, you can hear someone asking for refuge.
In response, the Ethiopian government spokesman Redwan · Hussein said that the authorities are not aware of the identity and motives of the hijackers and are investigating the incident. Hussein said that the suspect has been working in Egypt for five years and has no criminal record. The current investigation shows that his spirit is normal and the Egyptian side will extradite him in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.
There are also media reports that before the hijacking incident was resolved, Hussein said that before flying to Geneva, the passenger plane had stopped in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, and the suspect might board the plane from there. Then hijacking was carried out during the flight.
There have been several incidents of hijacking of Ethiopian Airlines flights. On November 23, 1996, a Boeing 767 passenger plane carrying 175 passengers and crew of Ethiopian Airlines was hijacked and died of fuel burning into the Indian Ocean near Comoros, killing at least 50 people.
Responsible Editor: Liu Yang