Ethiopian authorities said Monday they would immediately seek the extradition from Switzerland of Hailemedhin Abera, the Ethiopian Airlines co-pilot who hijacked an aircraft with 200 passengers on board earlier in the day.
The co-pilot, who safely landed the aircraft in Geneva after taking control while over the Sudanese airspace, reportedly sought asylum in Switzerland.
Ethiopian Information Minister Redwan Hussein said the Ethiopian government would press for the pilot’s extradition.
The aircraft, which had on board Italians, Americans, Nigerians, French and Ethiopians, among others, was hijacked while on the Sudanese airspace en route Rome, as the pilot was briefly outside the cockpit.
Redwan said the co-pilot sounded the hijack button and demanded to refuel in Geneva.
Swiss authorities said the co-pilot, who also reported engine distress, handed himself to the authorities after landing the aircraft.
Earlier, the airline said in a statement posted on its website that flight ET-702, which took off from Addis Ababa, at 00:30 (local time) Monday, and 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.
”Ethiopian Airlines is making immediate arrangements to fly its esteemed customers on-board the flight to their intended destinations,” the airline said.