Passengers overcome Turkish plane hijacker

17:29, 15 October 2008
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There were 167 passengers on board

Passengers overpowered an apparently drunken man who on Wednesday tried to hijack a Turkish Airlines flight en route to Russia, claiming to have a bomb, officials and media reports said, AFP reported.

The hijacker on the charter flight from the Mediterranean city of Antalya to Saint Petersburg was quickly subdued and the Airbus A-320 continued its flight after the incident, Orhan Birdal -- the head of Turkey`s airports management authority -- told reporters.

The aircraft later landed as scheduled at Saint Petersburg at 1120 GMT, the information service at the Russian aiport said.

"The passenger claimed to have a bomb and wanted to divert the plane to a destination of his choice... The person was subdued and put under control," Birdal said on CNN Turk television.

"There is nothing to worry about on board at the moment," he said, adding that the incident occurred around 1000 GMT in Belarussian airspace as the plane was approaching Minsk.

The man, who was said to be drunk, handed a flight attendant a note for the pilot reading, "I have a bomb. If you don`t take me in (the cockpit) I will blow it up," Turkish Airlines director Temel Kotil told Anatolia news agency.

"The man then attempted to walk towards the cockpit... and was overpowered by passengers," he said, adding that the man had no explosives.

His nationality was not immediately clear, Birdal said, while CNN Turk reported he was of Uzbek origin, without specifying his official citizenship.

Transport Minister Binali Yildirim, quoted by CNN Turk, confirmed that the hijacker was "pacified" and that the plane continued on its route.

There were 167 passengers on board, the channel said.


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