Ethiopian plane forced to Geneva; hijacker nabbed

JOHN HEILPRIN Associated Press Published:

GENEVA (AP) -- Police arrested a hijacker who forced an Ethiopian Airlines plane to land in Geneva on Monday. The airline said that all passengers and crew of the Rome-bound plane were safe.

The airline said one of its planes flying from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, had been "forced to proceed to Geneva." Its website said the flight landed safely. It gave no further details.

Police escorted passengers one by one, their hands over their heads, from the taxied plane and into a waiting bus.

Swiss police said the plane made an unscheduled landing in the Swiss city at 6 a.m. (0500 GMT) and the hijacker was arrested. Police spokesman Jean-Philippe Brandt told The Associated Press that "the situation is under control" and nobody on the flight was injured.

He said the plane was a Boeing 767-300, but had no immediate information on the number of people aboard.

Further details of the incident were to be released at a news conference in Geneva at 9 a.m. (0800 GMT).

Cairo airport officials said the pilot of the plane, flight 702, informed the control tower at Abu Simbel in southern Egypt that his plane had been hijacked. The pilot did not ask to land in Egypt, and the plane headed for Libyan airspace, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief the media.

Departures from the airport have resumed. Geneva airport said the arrivals would also resume at 8.45 a.m. (0745 GMT).

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Frank Jordans in Berlin and Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.