Officials: Cops Nab Sochi-Bound Hijacking Suspect

PHOTO: Turkish security officials enter the private Turkish company Pegasus plane before they evacuate passengers at the Sabiha Gokcen Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, Feb. 7, 2014.
Share
Copy

The man who allegedly attempted to hijack a Ukrainian flight and take it to Sochi, where the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics began today, has been subdued and no explosives were discoverd on board, American and Turkish officials said.

The unidentified 45-year-old Ukrainian man, who was a passenger on board a Turkey-bound plane, in mid-flight reportedly claimed to have a bomb and demanded the pilots take him and the other passengers to Sochi, the site of the Olympics in southern Russia. Instead, the pilots landed in Istanbul where Turkish television showed it sitting on the tarmac for hours.

Eventually, authorities were able to sneak aboard the plane and subdue the man, causing only minor injuries, Istanbul Governor Huseyin Mutlu told reporters.

Russian media, citing Ukrainian security officials, reported the man was highly intoxicated and a U.S. official briefed on the situation told ABC News there was a "99 percent" chance that was the case. Still, the U.S. official said security authorities in Turkey and the world over are taking the matter seriously.

Security in Sochi has been high for months due to the threat posed to the Games by Islamic militants in the region.

Sochi lies on the Black Sea, just 300 miles away from the heartland of an Islamic militancy in the North Caucasus. Doku Umarov, the leader of the insurgents known to some as Russia's Osama bin Laden, told his followers last summer they should do what they can to disrupt the Games, which he called a "satanic dance" on the bones of their ancestors.

In the past three months, Russia has suffered three suicide bombings in southern cities attributed to the militants. In January the U.S. State Department urged its citizens traveling to Sochi to be "vigilant and exercise good judgment" during the Games because of the terror threat.

Do you know anything about this story? Write in to the Investigative Unit Tip Line by CLICKING HERE.

CLICK HERE to return to the Investigative Unit homepage.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: In this stock image, a lumberjack is pictured.
Joze Pojbic/Getty Images
PHOTO: Left, an undated file photo provided by the Spokane County Sheriff shows Bombing Kevin William Harpham; right, in this undated photo provided by the Johnson County Sheriff, Frazier Glenn Cross, Jr., appears in a booking photo.
Spokane County Sheriff/AP Photo| Johnson County Sheriff via Getty Images
PHOTO: The tires of a Studebaker, missing since 1971, are visible in Brule Creek near Elk Point, S.D. in this undated file photo.
South Dakota Attorney General?s Office/AP Photo