Ethiopian Airlines co-pilot highjacks plane in asylum bid

Ethiopian Airlines co-pilot highjacks plane in asylum bid

Swiss police have confirmed they have arrested the co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines plane flying from Addis Ababa to Rome.

It is believe the co-pilot attempted to highjack the Boeing 767-300, forcing it to make an emergency landing in Geneva.

The hijacker is believed to have waited for the pilot to go to the toilet to lock himself in the cockpit.

He was unarmed and has requested asylum in Switzerland due to fear of persecution in Ethiopia.

The airline said in a statement that all 202 passengers and crew were safe.

Geneva airport, which was closed for a time, has now reopened.

Swiss police said, after locking himself in the cockpit, the co-pilot asked to refuel at Geneva, landed the plane, climbed down from the cockpit window using a rope and gave himself up to police.

Officers explained the situation inside the plane remained calm throughout.

The co-pilot himself alerted the authorities to the plane’s hijacking, with passengers unaware it had been hijacked.

The co-pilot could be charged with hostage-taking for which he could face up to 20 years of imprisonment, a Geneva prosecutor said at a news conference following the incident.