The co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines plane has been arrested at Geneva airport after taking over the controls and hijacking the aircraft while the pilot was taking a toilet break, police said.
Swiss police said the Ethiopian co-pilot was seeking political asylum in Switzerland. None of the 143 passengers or cabin crew was harmed. The majority of passengers were Italians, according to Ethiopian media.
The drama began when the co-pilot shut himself in the cockpit of the Boeing 767-300, which was on its way to Rome. Initial reports said he seized control when the plane was in Sudanese airspace.
Swiss authorities closed Geneva-Cointrin airport and parked the aircraft, which had been circling over the airport, at the end of a runway. The co-pilot surrendered after lowering himself to the ground on a rope from a window in the cockpit. He was not armed.
Police said that the passengers, most of whom were Italian, were never in any danger.
Flight ET702 left Addis Ababa just after midnight local time on Monday for the four-hour flight to Rome.
Swiss authorities reopened the airport and said they expected services to return to normal by early afternoon.
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