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Ethiopian Airlines Copilot Hijacks Boeing 767 With 200 Passengers Onboard

February 17, 2014 – Ethiopian Airlines hijacker has been identified as 31 year old Hailemedhin Abera, the copilot of Fight ET-702. The Boeing 767 carrying 200 passengers had departed from Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia at 12:30 AM local time for Rome instead the aircraft was forced to land at Geneva Airport, Switzerland. 

Robert Deillon, Geneva Airport chief executive told reporters that the copilot took control of the Boeing 767 when the captain left the cockpit to use the bathroom. "The pilot went to the toilet and he [the copilot] locked himself in the cockpit," said Deillon. "[He] wanted asylum in Switzerland. That's the motivation of the hijacking." 


In flight, the copilot contracted air traffic control to alert authorities he had hijacked. Passengers were initially unaware of the hijacking however, things became clear something was wrong when the copilot announced over the intercom system he would crash the plane. 

The aircraft rapidly descended, many passengers were jolted in their seats, one passenger had stated he thought the aircraft was falling from the sky. The aircrafts oxygen masks had deployed. 

For 90 minutes Fight 702 had circled Geneva Airport while Italian and French fighter jets were scrambled to assess the situation, the airport was then closed to all other traffic. The copilot had informed air traffic control that he was running dangerously low on fuel at which point the Boeing 767 was cleared to land.



Upon landing the copilot exited the aircraft’s cockpit window by lowering himself to the ground with a rope. At which point authorities apprehended and arrested the copilot. Shaken passengers were assisted and escorted off the plane. The airport was then reopened. 

Ethiopian Airlines released a press release that indicated all passengers and clew were safe, that the cause of the diversion of the flight is under investigation. Ethiopian Airlines has made all the necessary arrangements to ensure that its passengers are being properly handled while in Geneva and can proceed to their intended destinations, to Rome and Milan, at the earliest.

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