Istanbul (AFP) – Turkey scrambled a jet fighter Friday to force down an airliner from Ukraine after a would-be hijacker on board brandishing a detonator ordered it to Sochi where the Winter Olympic opening ceremony was underway, Turkish officials said.
A Turkish F-16 made the plane, from Turkey’s Pegasus airline and carrying 110 people, land in Istanbul.
The hijacker was believed to be a Ukrainian man, according to Turkish media. Outlets reported that he was overpowered and security forces were on the plane.
Habib Soluk, deputy Turkish transport ministry, said that the man was holding a detonator as he tried to get to the cockpit and claimed there was a bomb on board.
“We are sure that he didn’t enter the cockpit. We know that the aircraft was hijacked before it entered Turkish airspace,” Soluk said.
The Pegasus pilot managed to sound the alert and the Turkish F-16 military jet was scrambled.
This post will be updated.