Monday, February 17, 2014

Ethiopian Hijacks a Rome-Bound Plane to Geneva; Wanted Asylum in Switz.,Faces 20 Yrs. in Prison

A plane from Ethiopia to Italy was hijacked today (February 17, 2014) and diverted to Geneva by its co-pilot, who Swiss officials said locked the pilot out of the cockpit after he went to the bathroom, according to the USA Today website.

Italian news agency ANSA said passenger Francesco Cuomo said the pilot was demanding that the hijacker open the door and tried to break it down. Cuomo, an Italian, said the hijacker got on the loudspeaker and threatened to crash the plane, then the oxygen masks came down.

Once the plane landed in Switzerland, the hijacker climbed out the window of the jet's cockpit using a rope and surrendered to police. All 202 passengers and crew exited safely from the Boeing 767-300 plane that had taken off from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The man "wanted asylum in Switzerland," Geneva International Airport chief executive Robert Deillon said. Geneva prosecutor Oliver Jornot and Swiss federal authorities were investigating the hijacking and would press charges that could carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

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