Update: Plane Lands In Turkey After Attempted Hijacking Amid Olympic Fears
According to CNN, A Pegasus Airline plane has made an emergency landing in Turkey after the plane reportedly dealt with an attempted hijacking. Officials say the hijacker’s intentions were to divert the plane to Sochi, Russia. This news comes days after intelligence officials raised concerns about the reality of ‘specific’ threats that existed against the Olympics in Sochi and the international community.
According to USA Today, the plane landed at the airport in Istanbul after a passenger, reportedly with a bomb, attempted to hijack the aircraft. According to a Transportation Ministry official Habip Soluk in Turkey, “While the plane was in the air, one of the passengers said that there was a bomb on board and asked the plane to not land in Sabiha Gokcen (in Turkey) but rather to land in Sochi.”
According to official sources the Ukrainian man was on a flight originally scheduled from Ukraine. The intentions of the man are not yet known. According to sources who were on the plane, the suspect told the passengers that bomb was in his bag underneath the plane in the baggage hold. Turkish officials have found no such weapon. The suspect never gained access to the cockpit, and as soon as the crew became aware of what was happening, they signaled they were being hijacked and began procedures for an emergency landing.
The Ukrainian Government has confirmed that the attempted hijacker is a citizen of their country. The Ukrainian officials have stated that no explosives were found on the passenger or in his bags and that he “voluntarily turned himself into police.”
The governor of Istanbul, Huseyin Avni Mutlu, disputes the Ukrainian official’s statement, saying “We had to use force because we were trying to persuade him and he wasn’t persuaded,” Although, Mutlu says that no weapons had to be used and that the suspect only suffered from a “light injury.”
There is still little known about the intentions of the suspect.