Sochi airplane hijack attempt foiled
A passenger allegedly tried to hijack the aircraft and demand the plane fly to Sochi.
ISTANBUL - Turkish security forces on Friday seized a Ukrainian man who officials said made a bomb threat and tried to hijack a passenger plane, demanding to go to the Winter Olympics venue of Sochi just as the opening ceremony was taking place.
Turkey scrambled an F-16 fighter jet to accompany the Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane as it landed at Sabiha Gokcen airport after the flight from the Ukrainian city of Kharkov with 110 passengers on board.
The incident came at a time when security officials internationally are on high alert for possible militant attacks connected to the games.
The suspect, a 45-year-old man, had a small bag containing electronic goods but no bomb, Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu told reporters after the operation to capture him.
"None of the passengers were harmed and a successful operation was carried out."
He said some force had to be used to seize the suspect.
"He was captured as a result of a struggle without the need to use any weapons. The hijacker was slightly wounded."
He said there was no evidence of the suspect being linked to any organisation but investigations would be conducted.
Media reports had said the suspect was believed to have drunk alcohol, but the governor could not confirm those reports.
Several US and European security officials have said that last-minute intelligence reports about possible Olympics-related attacks continue to flow into Western agencies.
President Vladimir Putin has staked his political and personal prestige on the Sochi Games, intended to show how far Russia has come since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. A bombing, hijacking or hostage crisis would seriously threaten those ambitions.