The alleged hijacker, identified as a male Ukrainian citizen, said he was armed with a bomb and was fooled into believing the plane actually landed in Sochi when it was diverted to Sabiha Gokcen International Airport in Istanbul, according to CNNTurk.
How the crew tricked the hijacker remains unclear.
The alleged hijacker is a Ukrainian citizen born in 1969, according to Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasyl Zvarych.
The passenger claimed the bomb was in the plane’s baggage compartment and that he was carrying the detonator, according to reports from Turkish media.
The pilot sounded an alarm and a Turkish F-16 military jet was quickly scrambled, forcing the plane, with 110 passengers on board, to land, according to AFP.
The Wall Street Journal reports that it was actually two F-16 fighter jets that accompanied the Pegasus Airlines flight as it flew into Istanbul, citing Turkish state media outlet Anadolu.
CNN reports that Turkish officials did not have details on why the alleged hijacker sought to divert the plane to Sochi.
At the time of writing, it is also not clear if there were actually any explosive devices discovered on the plane, according to The New York Times.
The man was taken to the Instanbul Security Headquarters, according to reports.
Zvarych was not convinced that the incident was actually any attempt to commit an act of terrorism, though he said the Ukrainian security services would be looking into the case.
The Ukrainian security service, the SBU, said in a statement that the alleged hijacker was heavily drunk, according to Interfax.
“He tried to enter the pilot’s cabin, calling out, ‘Let’s fly to Sochi,’” an SBU representative said, according to Interfax.
“Whatever the alleged hijacker’s intentions or actions, the timing of the incident is bound to raise already-high tensions about security at the Sochi Olympics, which began Thursday,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Cihan News Agency of Turkey published a photograph of the alleged hijacker, according to CNN, though Turkish officials have yet to confirm the authenticity of the image.
Despite a great deal of media coverage of the attempted hijacking, the opening ceremony went forward without any apparent awareness of the reports on the part of the participants.
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