Hijacker held after diverting Ethiopian jet, passengers safe
Updated: 2014-02-17 15:12
Police officers help a passenger disembark hijacked Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 702 at Cointrin airport in Geneva February 17, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
GENEVA - Swiss authorities detained the hijacker of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that was forced to land at Geneva's international airport on Monday and police said all passengers were unhurt.
The unnamed co-pilot, an Ethiopian born in 1983, locked the cockpit door when the pilot went to the toilet. He then asked to refuel at Geneva, landed the plane, climbed down from the cockpit window on a rope, and gave himself up to police.
He was unarmed and there was no risk at any time to crew or passengers, Grangean said. The co-pilot is being questioned by police.
Passengers left the plane parked near the end of the runway and were checked by police as they held their hands on their necks, before boarding a bus, a witness said.
Airport police said the situation was "under control" after flight ET 702 had been diverted from its original destination of Rome. The airline earlier said the flight from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa had been "forced to proceed" to Geneva.
An Ethiopian government spokesman, Redwan Hussein, said the flight had made a scheduled stop in the Sudanese capital Khartoum where he said the hijacker or hijackers might have boarded the flight.
State-run Ethiopian television said there had been 193 passengers on board the Boeing aircraft, including 140 Italian nationals.
The brief drama in Geneva on Monday morning caused the cancellation of some short-haul flights and some incoming flights were diverted to other airports. Hundreds of passengers booked on disrupted flights scrambled to change their tickets.