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Hijack attempt on Ukraine to Turkey plane

F-16 jet escorts plane to Sabiha Gokcen Airport after passenger claimed to have a bomb and asked to go to the Olympics.

Last updated: 07 Feb 2014 21:33
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Turkey scrambled an F-16 fighter jet to accompany a passenger plane after a bomb threat [Reuters]

Turkey scrambled an F-16 fighter jet to accompany a passenger plane arriving in Istanbul from Ukraine after a bomb threat was made by a passenger demanding to go to the Winter Olympics venue of Sochi, Turkish officials said.

Television footage showed the Pegasus Airlines flight from the Ukrainian city of Kharkov arriving in Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen airport.

The governor of Istanbul said that all passengers had been taken off the plane and that the man had been taken into custody. Al Jazeera's Isil Sariyuce, reporting from Istanbul, said that they were all safe.

She said that he had announced he had a bomb shortly after take-off.

"The cabin crew managed to convince him that they were flying to Sochi but in the meantime they had pressed the alert button," our correspondent said.

The passenger was believed to have drunk alcohol and was calmed down by the crew and persuaded to let the plane, a Boeing 737-800, land in Istanbul at 1602 GMT, according to Dogan news agency.

An official from Turkey's transport ministry said there were 110 passengers on board and confirmed that a bomb threat had been made but said the plane had landed safely.

Security teams were continuing inspections on the plane, the ministry said in a statement.

A Pegasus Airlines spokeswoman declined comment.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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