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Passengers And Crew Safe After Hijacked Ethiopian Airlines Flight Lands In Geneva

A hijacked flight from Addis Ababa to Rome was "forced to proceed" to Geneva International Airport early Monday morning.The arrested hijacker was actually the co-pilot of the plane.

Posted on February 17, 2014, at 1:19 a.m. ET

Updated: 7:15 p.m., ET Monday

Denis Balibouse / Reuters

Ethiopian Airlines said Monday that all passengers and crew were safe after a flight to Rome was "forced to proceed" to Geneva. After landing, police escorted passengers one by one, and one hijacker was arrested. It was later reported that the hijacker of the plane was actually the co-pilot.

Geneva airport chief executive Robert Deillon told reporters that "the pilot went to the toilet and he (the co-pilot) locked himself in the cockpit." The co-pilot "wanted asylum in Switzerland" which was "the motivation of the hijacking."

Geneva police spokesman Eric Grandjean added that the co-pilot exited the plane through a window using a rope "went to the police forces who were on the ground close to the aircraft" and "announced that he was himself the hijacker."

The AP report Deillon also revealed the hijacking began over Italy, and that two Italian fighter jets "were scrambled to accompany the plane."

AP Photo/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi

Apparently passengers on the plane were unaware that the plane had been hijacked.

Video captured by passengers aboard the flight showed the scene inside the cabin during the hijacking.

View this video on YouTube

This is reportedly the audio from the incident between the aircraft and air traffic control, posted by @matthewkeyslive, in which a demand for asylum was made.

The airline's statement:

Ethiopian Airlines flight ET-702 on scheduled service departing from Addis Ababa on 17 February 2014 at 00:30 (local time) scheduled to arrive in Rome at 04:40 (local time) was forced to proceed to Geneva Airport. Accordingly, the flight has landed safely at Geneva Airport. All passengers and crew are safe at Geneva Airport.

Ethiopian Airlines is making immediate arrangements to fly its esteemed customers on-board the flight to their intended destinations.

Here was #ET702’s approach into GVA (note slight misalignment of red aircraft vs yellow official/emergency vehicles)

John Walton@thatjohn

Here was #ET702รขโ‚ฌโ„ขs approach into GVA (note slight misalignment of red aircraft vs yellow official/emergency vehicles)

12:11 AM - 17 Feb 14ReplyRetweetFavorite