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Co-pilot hijacks plane, surrenders to Swiss

A co-pilot hijacked an Ethiopian Airlines plane and surrendered Monday to Swiss police requesting asylum. The co-pilot is in protective custody in Geneva.

The co-pilot gained control of the cockpit when the pilot stepped away. The co-pilot, accord to Reuters, was not armed. He landed the plane with no harm to any passengers or crew and immediately surrendered himself saying he was not safe in his country and requested asylum.

Ethiopian Airlines claimed the plane was “forced to proceed to Geneva Airport,” in a press release issued before the co-pilot had been detained.

The flight – Flight ET 702 - left Addis Ababa Sunday and was bound for Rome. It was hijacked over northern Italy and landed in Geneva at 6:02 a.m., according to police spokesman Pierre Grangean and reported by Reuters.

Ethiopian Airlines is government run. The co-pilot then is the first government official or employee to seek asylum in five years. The co-pilot will face charges of taking hostages, which could land him in jail for up to 20 years, reported the New York Times.

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