Ethiopian Airlines Flight 702
ET-AMF, the aircraft involved in the incident, at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris
|Date||17 February 2014|
|Summary||Hijacked by co-pilot|
|Site||Hijacked over Sudan, forced to land at Geneva|
|Aircraft type||Boeing 767-3BGER|
|Flight origin||Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Ethiopia|
|Stopover||Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport, Italy|
|Destination||Malpensa Airport, Italy|
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 702 was a scheduled flight from Addis Ababa to Milan via Rome on 17 February 2014. The aircraft, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER, was hijacked by the unarmed co-pilot, Hailemedhin Abera Tegegn, en route from Addis Ababa to Rome, and landed at Geneva. All 202 passengers and crew were unharmed. Tegegn was arrested by the Swiss authorities, and after being convicted in absentia by an Ethiopian court, was granted asylum in Switzerland in May 2016.
Flight 702 was scheduled to depart from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at 00:30 EAT (UTC+3) on 17 February 2014. The aircraft's transponder began to emit squawk 7500—the international code for an aircraft hijacking—while flying north over Sudan. When the pilot exited the cockpit to use the restroom, the co-pilot locked the cockpit door and continued to fly the aircraft. The flight was scheduled to arrive at Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy, at 04:40 CET (UTC+1), before continuing to Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy. Instead, the aircraft was flown to Geneva, Switzerland, where the copilot of flight 702 circled several times while communicating with air traffic control at Geneva International Airport while trying to broker political asylum for himself and an assurance that he would not be extradited to Ethiopia.
At 06:02 CET (UTC+1), the airplane landed at Geneva International Airport with about 10 minutes of fuel and the flameout of one engine. The co-pilot who had hijacked the aircraft, exited by scaling down a rope he threw out of the cockpit window and walked to police, where he identified himself as the hijacker and was arrested. The airport was shut down immediately following the landing. No passengers or crew were injured.
The flight was escorted by Italian Eurofighter and French Mirage fighter jets while traversing their respective airspaces. The Swiss Air Force did not respond because the incident occurred outside normal office hours, which are 08:00–12:00 and 13:30–17:00. According to a Swiss air force spokesman, "Switzerland cannot intervene because its airbases are closed at night and on the weekend... It's a question of budget and staffing." Switzerland relies on neighboring countries to police its airspace outside of regular business hours. The French air force has permission to escort suspicious flights into Swiss airspace, but does not have authority to shoot down an aircraft over Switzerland.
The hijacker of Flight 702 was Hailemedhin Abera Tegegn, 31, who was the co-pilot of flight 702. After landing the aircraft, he exited the cockpit by scaling down a rope he threw out the cockpit window. He was arrested by Swiss authorities.
In May 2016, the Swiss government has granted asylum to the Ethiopian co-pilot who seized control of the Boeing 767-300.
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