Pegasus Airlines Hijack Attempt: Passenger Demands Plane Land In Sochi, Pilot Forced To Land In Turkey

 @TreyeGreen t.green@ibtimes.com
on February 08 2014 12:00 AM
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A police car drives on the tarmac of Sabiha Gokcen airport in Istanbul on February 7, 2014. Turkish special forces seized a passenger who is suspected of making a bomb threat and attempting to hijack a plane. He demanded that the plane be diverted to Sochi, where the Winter Olympic Games are being held. Reuters

Officials with Turkey's Transportation Ministry say a Pegasus Airlines plane landed at an Istanbul airport on Friday following an attempted hijacking by a passenger.

A passenger yelled that there was bomb on the plane and attempted to have the flight diverted to Sochi, Russia, reports CNN. "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 but rather to land in Sochi," Transportation Ministry official Habip Soluk told CNNTurk on Friday.

 

The passenger said the bomb was located in the baggage hold. The flight was carrying 110 passengers and safely landed safety at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport. According to Soluk, the pilot was able to signal officials at the airport of the hijacking attempt. During its approach to the airport, an F-16 accompanied the aircraft.

Officials say the plane landed and was parked in a safe zone at the airport.

Security officers were looking for a bomb on the plane, said a transportation official. There are currently no details on why the attempted hijacker wanted the plane to change course to Sochi, officials added. The alleged hijacker is of Ukrainian nationality, said Soluk. The plane was traveling between Kharkov, a city in Ukraine, and Istanbul. But it isn't known in which city the flight originated.

When the attack was reported, the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi was just kicking off. Over the past few months, there have been concerns about a possible terrorist attack during the Games. 

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