UPDATE: Co-pilot took control of Ethiopian Airlines, wanted asylum

An Ethiopian Airlines plane en route from Addis Ababa to Rome has been forced to land in Geneva after being hijacked, Swiss police say.

An Ethiopian Airlines plane en route from Addis Ababa to Rome has been forced to land in Geneva after being hijacked, Swiss police say.

One hijacker has been arrested. The airline said in a statement that all passengers and crew were safe.

There are no injuries, and the police say the situation is "under control".

Flight 702 was scheduled to leave Addis Ababa at 00:30 local time (2130 GMT), and arrive in Rome at 04:40 local time. Geneva airport is currently closed.

Geneva police confirmed the plane had made an unscheduled landing in the Swiss city at 06:00 (05:00 GMT).

In a statement, Ethiopian Airlines said Flight 702 "on scheduled service departing from Addis Ababa at 00:30 (local time) scheduled to arrive in Rome at 04:40 (local time) was forced to proceed to Geneva airport".

"Accordingly, the flight has landed safely at Geneva airport. All passengers and crew are safe at Geneva airport," it added in the statement.

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UPDATE: Police arrested the co-pilot of Ethiopian Airlines flight 702 after the plane made an unscheduled landing at Geneva airport around 6 a.m. Central European Time, authorities said at a news conference.

The co-pilot was motivated to seek asylum because he felt threatened in his home country, according to the authorities.

The co-pilot, identified as an Ethiopian born in 1983, fled the aircraft through a cockpit window, the authorities said. No one was injured during the event.

After a temporary closure, the airport reopened for departures at 8 a.m. local time, with arrivals starting at about 8:45 a.m., according to a notice on the airport's website.

 

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