The Associated Press has acquired amateur footage from inside an Ethiopian Airlines plane that was hijacked Monday.
The hijacker was Hailemedhin Abera Tegegn, the flight's co-pilot. Unlike many hijackers, he had no intent to harm anyone on the flight or on the ground, besides threatening to crash the plane if the pilot did not stop banging on the cockpit door. Instead he was seeking asylum in Switzerland.
The footage came from Repubblica.tv, an Italian media company. More footage can be found at Repubblica.tv.
Hailemedhin hijacked the flight during its scheduled flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Rome. He locked the pilot out of the cockpit while he was in the bathroom and then steered the plane and its 193 passengers toward Geneva.
Two Italian fighter jets were scrambled to escort the plane. After circling over Geneva, Hailemedhin eventually landed the plane at Geneva International Airport. He exited the aircraft through the cockpit window and surrendered to police, stating "I'm the hijacker," and that he was not safe in his own country and wanted to bid for asylum in Switzerland. No one was harmed in the hijacking.
The last segment of video appears to be shot after the plane had landed and the passengers were evacuated. A man can be heard saying over the plane's intercom system, "Your attention please, this is a police operation. Please don't move, stay relaxed and keep your hands on your head, the aircraft will be (evacuated)."
The footage also shows that emergency oxygen system masks were deployed in the passenger cabins. Watch below.
Ethiopian Airlines has not commented on the hijacking outside of releasing a statement that says the flight was "forced to proceed to Geneva Airport," and that "the cause of the diversion of the flight is under investigation."
According to NPR, Hailemedhin stands little chance of getting his asylum request granted. Geneva prosecutor Olivier Jornot told the AP that he will be charged with taking hostages, punishable up to 20 years in prison. Swiss federal prosecutors said they have taken on the case.
Graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst's fine Journalism program. Traveling will be a part of my job, I've got my eyes on South America, the Middle East, Africa,...