posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 12:05 PM
ET702, departed Addis Ababa Sunday, at approximately 1230 am bound for Rome, with 139 Italians, 11 Americans, and four French citizens (202 total
souls on board, counting crew). At approximately 0330 GMT, while over northern Italy, the transponder code was changed to 7500, to show a hijacking.
The aircraft later landed in Geneva, at approximately 0502 GMT. Two Italian Air Force Eurofighter aircraft were scrambled and escorted the aircraft
after receiving the emergency code.
Onboard the aircraft, the Captain had stepped out of the cockpit to use the bathroom. While he was out of the cockpit, the co-pilot announced that he
was hijacking the aircraft, and asking for asylum, as he wasn't safe in Ethiopia. The aircraft circled repeatedly before landing. Upon landing the
co-pilot opened the cockpit window, and lowered an emergency rope, used to escape the cockpit in emergencies, and climbed down to police, who he
surrendered to peacefully. None of the passengers were injured, and it's reported many of them didn't even know what was going on.
Ethiopian Airlines has been involved in several hijackings, including one that killed 50 people when the plane attempted to ditch in the ocean off a
resort after running out of fuel. The hijackers ordered the crew to fly to Australia, and refused to allow them to land and refuel, even though it
was only a domestic flight.
The pilot of this flight now can face up to 20 years in prison for hijacking the flight.
The co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines jet was arrested on Monday after forcing the Rome-bound aircraft to land in Geneva in a bid for asylum in
Switzerland, authorities said.
The co-pilot, identified by airport officials in Geneva only as an Ethiopian man born in 1983, shimmied down a rope suspended from the cockpit window
before Swiss police took him into custody on the tarmac shortly after 6 a.m. local time. The airport reopened for departures two hours later.
Although none of the 202 passengers and crew of Flight ET702, which originated in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, were injured during the
hijacking, the incident immediately raised questions about airline security. The hijacking of an airliner by a member of its flight crew is highly