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Co-pilot hijacks flight; demands asylum

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posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 12:05 PM
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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 unusual.

Source




posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 12:15 PM
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At least that is better than Egypt air's (?) first officer who while repeating Allah Akbar put the flight in the ocean with all souls lost. Think that happened sometime in; 1999 ? Of course Egypt tried to blame mechanical failure.



posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 12:24 PM
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Hey Zaphod.. Help me out here. What am I missing?

The Co-Pilot hijacked his own flight..so he could land it in Europe when the flight was originally scheduled to fly to...err.. Europe? What changed by what he did here, other than asking asylum from a cell rather than a bureaucrat's desk somewhere in Italy?

Someone just sounds a couple bricks shy of a full load in terms of action vs. outcome and what could possibly have been gained? I guess it did prove what Europe's reaction and tolerances are for a hijacked aircraft under escort, and that's interesting in it's own way to some people.

Hmm... Odd one..



posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 12:27 PM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


I don't know the specific laws, but he may have felt that he stood a better chance of getting asylum in Switzerland, rather than in Italy. So he decided to take the chance and fly to Geneva instead of Rome. It does get more attention to his case, rather than just walking into an office somewhere though.



posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 12:37 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


I guess the story really brings up an interesting question. When cockpits are made to keep hijackers out and while using determined force to get in? Just what does one do when the hijacker is already inside, throws the bolts to lock it and figuratively says 'come get me'?

I guess no one has put real thought into that...tho it does seem to require mutually exclusive solutions too. What a mess this incident raises for 'shoulda thought of that' moments.



posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 12:40 PM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Even from before airport security was implemented the number of hijackings/incidents brought on by crew members has been so small that it's barely even a statistical blip. The attitude has always been that if they decided to do something there was little if anything that could be done to stop them, so there's nothing that could be put on the plane to help to prevent a crew take over. It's one of the reasons there's an extensive background check before any crew member is hired (although it's probably more extensive in some places than in others).



posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 12:45 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Agreed there... What first came to mind in reading this was Egypt Air 990, which was totally different for circumstance, of course, but didn't leave the warmest feelings to consider either.

I guess what stands out here is waiting until the Captain was out, locked him out, and then hijacked it. I'd assume the captain wasn't onboard with the game plan (no pun intended..lol) but he didn't get much say since he was on the wrong side of the door.

Thank goodness it's rare and hopefully things like this don't give others long term ideas.



posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 12:50 PM
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Wrabbit2000
Hmm... Odd one..

No, it doesn't make a lot of sense. In a country like Ethiopia an airline pilot would part of the elite of society. Not to mention that no nation has given asylum status to aircraft hijackers since, like, 1970. Invariably, hijackers face long prison sentences, no matter what the circumstances. I am suspecting mental illness as the cause, or maybe he was on anti-depressants.



posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 01:13 PM
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reply to post by starviego
 


This makes something like 6 hijackings of an Ethiopian Airlines plane since the 1990s I think. For there to be that many, then something has to be wrong for a number of people there. He may have been targeted by a group because he's seen as an "elite" since he's a pilot.



posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 03:02 PM
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Is it possible to infer from all these separate incidents....that things are not to everyones liking in Ethiopia?
What could possibly make people so desparate to escape it?



posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 03:31 PM
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Seems like nobody told him, that they don't want many foreigners there



posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 05:18 PM
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Wrabbit2000

Hmm... Odd one..


i agree, surely a pilot can qualify to move to another country without claiming asylum
Couldn't he have applied for a job with a foreign company or asked for a transfer to some other place?
I feel like somethings missing here.
edit on 17-2-2014 by michael1888 because: spelling mistake



posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 06:57 PM
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Should be rejected as a crime like that should never be rewarded.

If hes allowed in then it could happen repeatdly.



posted on Feb, 18 2014 @ 11:52 AM
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This case seems like there is more to it. I know it's already been said, but, I Second that motion. What's so different between Italy and Switzerland? Extradition laws perhaps? So the captain went to the bathroom, came back to find the cockpit door locked? Then what? He just sat in first class for the rest of the trip? Is there any chance he felt sympathy for the Co pilot and allowed this to take place? What's going on in Ethiopia that an airline pilot, a guy with a professional career, has something to fear from the government? What kind of extreme laws do they have there? Is it an Islamic government and he got caught being gay or drinking? Was he spying for another government?

Switzerland has a history of remaining neutral in global conflicts. That's all I could think of. So maybe they have really lax Extradition laws for asylum seekers? There is a link between Italy and Switzerland in the Swiss Guard which protects the Vatican, but I'm sure that has nothing to do with anything.

Maybe the guy just decided that if he was gonna be stuck in a country, he'd prefer Switzerland. Maybe has friends or a lover there. Maybe speaks the language or enjoys skiing or chocolate. Or maybe he has been stealing from the government in Ethiopia or someone high up with friends in high places and has the money stashed in a Swiss bank account.

Anyway, I'd love to hear more about this. Even if it's lies we can still deduce some information based on the surrounding circumstances and which lie is told and stuff.

Thanks for sharing bud!



posted on Feb, 18 2014 @ 03:33 PM
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Here is a very touching IamA from a passenger on that plane via Reddit. Cannot imagine going through something like that. Sounds like the Swiss did an amazing job handling the situation and taking care of all the passengers afterwards.

Passenger's IamA Story



posted on Feb, 20 2014 @ 07:39 PM
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edit on 2/20/2014 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)





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