Ethiopian Airlines 767 Hijacked by Co-Pilot

  • Feb 17, 2014 10:23am GMT

The co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines 767 en route from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Rome, hijacked the flight as it neared its destination and flew it to Geneva, seeking asylum in Switzerland.

The co-pilot hijacked the aircraft as the captain left the cockpit to use the restroom, said Swiss police spokesman Jean-Philippe Brandt.

The co-pilot, who was not named, closed the fortified door, police said. Instead of Rome, he then steered the plane toward Geneva.

Before landing the plane in Switzerland, it is reported that the co-pilot asked Swiss air traffic control, "And you have to give us lastly permission onboard for asylum."

"Yes I know," control responded. "Sorry, but we are still waiting for the response. We are trying our best to get you the response, sir."

Eventually, the plane landed at Geneva International Airport.

"I will be coming out via the window," the co-pilot told the control tower.

He then escaped through the cockpit window using a rope, and surrendered to police, Brandt said.

He was unarmed, authorities said.

"His act has been motivated by the fact that he feels threatened in his country and wants to make an asylum claim in Switzerland," Swiss police spokesman Philippe Grangean said.

The passengers were not threatened or put in danger, police said.

Ethiopian Airlines, in a statement, would only say the plane was "forced to proceed" to the airport.

During the incident, Geneva International Airport was shut down. It reopened later Monday morning.