Voice of America (Washington, DC)

17 February 2014

Ethiopia: Co-Pilot Was 'Hijacker' of Ethiopian Airlines Plane

Photo: The Ethiopian
Ethiopian Airlines.

The Co — The co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines flight headed for Rome hijacked the plane Monday, landing it safely in Geneva, where he was taken into custody.

Authorities said the unnamed co-pilot, in his early 30s, took control of the Boeing 767 by locking the cockpit door after the pilot left for a bathroom break.

Swiss officials said that once the plane landed in Geneva, the co-pilot climbed out of the cockpit on a rope and turned himself over to authorities, saying he was the "pirate" and he was seeking asylum because he feared persecution at home. The nature of the persecution was not immediately clear.

The flight originated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital, and carried 202 passengers.

Ethiopian Airlines said earlier the aircraft "was forced to proceed to Geneva" where it landed safely.

Police at Geneva's international airport escorted passengers one by one, their hands over their heads, from the taxied aircraft to waiting vehicles.

Geneva's airport was initially closed to other flights, but operations resumed several hours after the hijacked plane landed.

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InFocus

'Co-Pilot Hijacked Ethiopian Plane'

Ethiopian Airlines.

According to the Geneva airport where the hijacked Ethiopian Airlines flight was forced to land, the man behind the incident was the co-pilot. Read more »