Hijacker held after Geneva plane landing

2014-02-17 09:25

Geneva – Swiss authorities have detained the hijacker of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that was forced to land at Geneva’s international airport, say airport police.

They added that the passengers and crew were safe.

Police said the situation was “under control” after flight

ET 702 had been diverted from its original destination of Rome this morning.

The airline earlier said the flight from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa had been “forced to proceed” to Geneva.

An Ethiopian government spokesperson, Redwan Hussein, said the flight had made a scheduled stop in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, where the hijacker or hijackers might have boarded the flight.

“We don’t know where they are from or how many they are, but it looks like the hijacker or hijackers boarded the flight in Khartoum,” Redwan said shortly before police announced the assailant’s detention.

In an apparent recording of radio communication between the aircraft and air traffic control posted on Twitter, a demand for asylum can clearly be heard.

But there was no independent verification of the authenticity of the recording and it was not immediately clear if it was a hijacker or pilot speaking from the plane.

“We need asylum or assurance we will not be transferred to the Ethiopian government,” said the voice in the recording.

A flight tracking app for mobile devices showed the flight circling over Geneva several times before landing.

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