A passenger on board an Istanbul-bound flight Friday claimed there was a bomb on board and tried to hijack the plane to Sochi, Russia, where the Olympics are kicking off, an official said.
The plane from Kharkov, Ukraine, landed safely at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport, but 110 passengers are still on board and authorities are trying to convince the alleged hijacker to give himself up, Habib Soluk, the country’s Transport Ministry undersecretary, told NTV television. The station reported the man had been subdued, but there was no immediate confirmation of that.
Soluk said the man rose from his seat, shouted that there was bomb on board and tried to enter the locked cockpit. The pilot signaled that there was a hijack attempt and the airport was placed on high alert.
Pegasus Airlines confirmed in a brief statement that there was a “bomb threat” aboard their flight from Kharkov.
Airnation.net cannot confirm if the man has been subdued. There are reports that he is holding hostages.
Turkey scrambled an F-16 fighter jet to accompany a passenger plane arriving in Istanbul from Ukraine on Friday after a bomb threat was made by a passenger demanding to go to the Winter Olympics venue of Sochi, Turkish officials said.
Television footage showed the Pegasus Airlines flight from the Ukrainian city of Kharkov arriving in Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport.
“People are still inside but the pilot called security and gave them a signal that they can enter the plane. There is a translator – a Turkish man near the Ukrainian to calm him down,” an airport official said.