Co-Pilot Hijacks Plane to Seek Geneva Asylum

The co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines plane has hijacked the aircraft and landed in Geneva at 6am this morning, Swiss police say.

The Boeing 767-300 plane, flying from Addis Ababa to Rome, made an unscheduled landing in Geneva. The 202 passengers and crew were not at risk at any time or indeed aware that the plane had been hijacked, police stated. The co-pilot himself alerted the authorities to the plane's hijacking, the man was unarmed and passengers were not at risk at any time.

The thirty year old Ethiopian co-pilot feared persecution in Ethiopia and sought asylum. After locking himself in the cockpit, he asked to refuel in Geneva, landed the plane, climbed down from the cockpit window using a rope, and gave himself up to the police.

Interestingly, the only possible offence the co-pilot could be charged with is that of hostage-taking, for which he could face up to 20 years imprisonment, a Geneva prosecutor said.

The last hijacking to take place at Geneva airport was an Air Afrique plane in 1985.