UK & World News
Hijacker Demands Plane Be Flown To Sochi
A Ukrainian airline passenger who allegedly tried to divert a passenger plane to Sochi where the Winter Olympics are taking place has been detained after a four-hour stand-off.
The suspected hijacker was seen holding an object resembling a detonator and said he had a bomb as he tried to force his way into the cockpit, authorities said.
The pilot sent out an alert and F-16 jets were scrambled to accompany the plane to Istanbul's Sabiha G?n airport on Friday evening.
The 110 passengers on board endured a tense wait as the man was persuaded to remain calm while the plane made an emergency landing.
One passenger, Gokhan Yildirim, said of the ordeal: "He said that he had bomb on him, and a friend of his would explode it remotely if he was harmed."
Turkish special forces had boarded the Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800 and took the man into custody after negotiations broke down once it was on the tarmac.
The plane had been over the Black Sea on its way to Istanbul's main Asian airport from the Ukrainian city of Kharkov at the time.
Turkish TV showed a still image it said was the would-be hijacker, in his 30s or 40s, with short hair and wearing what looked like a red-white-and-blue ice hockey shirt with the number 11.
He was taken to an undisclosed location for questioning.
Habib Soluk, deputy Turkish transport minister, said: "A Pegasus Airlines plane with 110 people on board had to land at Sabiha Gokcen airport because of a passenger who threatened passengers with a bomb.
"We are sure that he didn't enter the cockpit. We know that the aircraft was hijacked before it entered Turkish airspace."
According to Turkey's Dogan news agency, the passenger was drinking alcohol before the hijack attempt occurred.
With about 100,000 police, security agents and army troops flooding Sochi, Russia has pledged to ensure "the safest Olympics in history".
But terror fears fuelled by recent suicide bombings have left athletes, spectators and officials worldwide jittery about potential threats.
Security experts warn that Islamic militants in the Caucasus have threatened to derail the Winter Games.
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