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Co-pilot hijacks his flight to Geneva

The plane’s second-in-command, who was not carrying a weapon, took control of the plane when the pilot left the cockpit to use the toilet. After landing, he left the aircraft via a cockpit window, without harming passengers or crew, police spokesman Pierre Grangean told a news conference. “Just after landing, the co-pilot came out of the cockpit and ran to the police and said, ‘I’m the hijacker.’ He said he is not safe in his own country and wants asylum,” Grangean said.

As passengers left the plane, which was parked near the end of the runway, they were checked by police as they held their hands on their necks, a Reuters witness said.

Flight ET702 departed the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa last evening and was bound for Rome. The plane was hijacked at about 0330 GMT while over northern Italy, Grangean said. It landed at Geneva at 0502 GMT.

He said the co-pilot, an Ethiopian born in 1983, locked the flight deck door when the pilot went to the toilet. He then asked to refuel at Geneva, landed the plane, climbed down on an emergency exit rope from a cockpit window, and gave himself up.

Robert Deillon, CEO of Geneva airport, said air traffic controllers learnt the plane had been hijacked when the co-pilot keyed a distress code into the aircraft’s transponder.

 
 
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