An Ethiopian plane bound for Rome has been hijacked and was forced to land at the Geneva international airport, stated Swiss police.
Flight ET 702 of Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa to Rome was "forced to proceed" to Geneva, the BBC reported. The incident has been confirmed by official sources. It has been reported that all 200 passengers and crew in the plane are safe, and one hijacker has been arrested.
No passengers or crew have been injured and the situation is under control, revealed Swiss police. The Geneva airport was closed, some flights were diverted and others were cancelled after the hijack, the airport's website said. However, it is understood that the airport has now reopened.
At around 3.30pm Sydney time, online flight watchers heard the 'hijack radio code' crackling on their radio from Ethiopian Airlines ET 702, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
"Ethiopian Airlines flight 702 on scheduled service departing from Addis Ababa at 0030 (local time) scheduled to arrive in Rome at 0440 (local time) was forced to proceed to Geneva airport," said a statement from the airlines.
"Accordingly, the flight has landed safely at Geneva Airport. All passengers and crew are safe at Geneva airport."
The airlines also confirmed that it will be making necessary arrangements for passengers to fly to their intended destinations.
The hijacking of the Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa reminds us of a gruesome incident that happened around 18 years ago. On 23 November 1996, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was hijacked and crash landed in the Indian Ocean, with 125 of the 175 passengers and crew on board losing their lives, along with the hijackers. It was the deadliest hijacking of an aircraft, till 9/11.