Plane Lands in Turkey After Hijack Attempt During Sochi Opening Ceremony Thwarted
During the first hours of the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony Friday, a passenger on an Istanbul-bound flight apparently tried to hijack the plane and divert it to Sochi. The passenger apparently told staff that a bomb was on board, but the plan failed and the plane landed safely in an Istanbul airport. The plane is being searched by authorities, and Istanbul officials are trying to get the passenger to turn himself in.
In a statement, a Turkish civil aviation official confirmed: "A Pegasus Airlines plane flying from Kharkov to Sabiha Gokcen landed at Sabiha Gokcen safely after receiving a bomb threat while in the air."
According to Reuters, "Turkey scrambled an F-16 fighter jet" to accompany the plane. The passenger apparently told plane staff to divert the plane directly to where the Winter Olympics were being held in Sochi.
The plane was a Pegasus Airways flight, according to reports. Turkey's transport authority confirmed that a bomb threat had been made and that 110 passengers were on board at the time, but noted that the plane had landed safely.
There have been major concerns about safety at this year's Games in Sochi. As Bustle reported:
It's hard to know exactly how concerned Russian authorities are. According to high-level American officials, there’s been a distinct lack of co-operation between America and Russia when it comes to security for the Games.
“They’ve now moved 30,000 armed troops to the region. That tells you their level of concern is great,” Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN. “But we don’t seem to be getting all of the information we need to protect our athletes in the Games. I think this needs to change, and it should change soon.”