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Ethiopian Airlines Co-Pilot Hijacks Plane, Seeks Swiss Asylum; Will Go To Prison Instead

Tyler Durden's picture


For a plan that culminated with a hijacked plane landing in Geneva, Switzerland, it was anything but a "Swiss watch" execution.

It all started when Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET702 departed the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Sunday evening heading for Rome. The around 0330 GMT (10:30 PM EST Sunday) while over northern Italy, the plane's second-in-command, who was not carrying a weapon, took control of the plane when the pilot left the cockpit to use the toilet. Shortly thereafter he himself sent a transponder code notifying ground control the plane had been hijacked (by him) with an  intention to land in Switzerland, where we would proceed to seek asylum, and after circling above Geneva for a while, the plane finally landed.

The plane erratic flight path was captured in the following snapshot:

After landing, he left the aircraft via a cockpit window, without harming passengers or crew, police spokesman Pierre Grangean told a news conference. It landed at Geneva at 6:02 a.m. (0502 GMT).

Reuters adds:

... the co-pilot, an Ethiopian born in 1983, locked the flight deck door when the pilot went to the toilet. He then asked to refuel at Geneva, landed the plane, climbed down on an emergency exit rope from a cockpit window, and gave himself up.


"There is ... a code for hijack. So this co-pilot put in the code for 'I just hijacked the aircraft'," he said. As the plane was over Italy at the time, two Italian Eurofighters were scrambled to accompany it, he said.


Ethiopian Airlines said in a short statement that the Boeing aircraft had been "forced to proceed" to Geneva.


State-run Ethiopian television said there were 193 passengers on board the Boeing aircraft, including 140 Italian nationals.


In an apparent recording of a radio communication between the Ethiopian plane and air traffic control posted on social media site Twitter, a demand for asylum was made.


"We need asylum or assurance we will not be transferred to the Ethiopian government," the voice in the recording, apparently the co-pilot, said.

That would be the editorial "we."

Once on the ground it was a typically Swiss clean up effort, with little drama or spillover: "Geneva airport was initially closed to other flights, but operations resumed around two hours after the hijacked plane landed. "We hope everything will return to normal in the afternoon," Deillon said."

As for the co-pilot original plan to seek asylum, what he may end up getting as part of the bargain is a 20 year prison sentence: "Geneva prosecutor Olivier Jornot said Swiss federal authorities were investigating the hijacking and would press charges that could carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years."

Well, the Swiss did make it clear a week ago that immigration into their country going forward would be more difficult. That said, we can't wait for the jokes about the drastic measures one needs to take in order to enter Switzerland from this moment on.


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Mon, 02/17/2014 - 09:52 | Link to Comment IdeasRbulletproof
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I guess he must've missed the Swiss immigration reform (vote) meeting...

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 09:57 | Link to Comment curbjob
curbjob's picture

The letters "MF" above the cockpit window provides a clue.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:00 | Link to Comment GetZeeGold
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Could have just flown standby to Switzerland.....would have been a lot less trouble.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:28 | Link to Comment Pool Shark
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Could have just hitchhiked from Rome to Geneva...


Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:57 | Link to Comment HyBrasilian
HyBrasilian's picture

His REAL target [in Switzerland] were the ZH servers... He planned on flying the plane into them while tossing his passport out the window at the last second...

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 11:17 | Link to Comment gmrpeabody
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But, I thought the ZH servers were in Tyler's mom's basement....?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 11:42 | Link to Comment mjcOH1
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"So this co-pilot put in the code for 'I just hijacked the aircraft'," he said. As the plane was over Italy at the time, two Italian Eurofighters were scrambled to accompany it, he said."


In America, the TSA could have prevented this by removing the toenail clippers from his carry-on bag.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 12:48 | Link to Comment El Oregonian
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Hey! Congradulations to the first Dictator's Day, formerly known as President's Day.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 12:49 | Link to Comment KickIce
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At the risk of getting banned here's a pic of Tyler and the ZH servers:


Mon, 02/17/2014 - 12:52 | Link to Comment HyBrasilian
HyBrasilian's picture

Where's 'hedgeless_horseman' been these past few weeks?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:51 | Link to Comment Freddie
Freddie's picture

If the Tylers were smart - they would move their servers to Iceland.  I think this would allow all of us to say hateful things and the F word.  Still, it is better than being in SillyCreep Valley, CA or anywhere else USSA.

I see Obama is playing golf at Lord Larry Ellison's private Oracle golf course.  What Oracle charges Uncle Sam is beyond sickening for their bloatware.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:57 | Link to Comment Cacete de Ouro
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He could have just crashed into the BIS Tower in Basel - that would have solved a few things

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:29 | Link to Comment IdeasRbulletproof
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Not really. I would've thought it was one of Jon Corzine's planes had he not been arrested...

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 12:07 | Link to Comment e_goldstein
e_goldstein's picture

Holy crap! Did we just find Jon Corzine?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:26 | Link to Comment thunderchief
thunderchief's picture

He must have looked at his March Roster and said "Fuck this, and screw the upgrade!"

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 09:53 | Link to Comment Ancona
Ancona's picture

20 years in a Swiss prison is still probably better than 20 years in Addis Ababa.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 09:55 | Link to Comment PontifexMaximus
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100 years in AA

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:09 | Link to Comment IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

I've done 7 years in AA. It's not so bad. 

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:12 | Link to Comment FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Alcoholics Anonymous, Addis Ababa or American Airlines?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:28 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

If they were combined would either be hilariously right or amazingly wrong.  Like chewing gum and eating peanuts.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 19:12 | Link to Comment Rafferty
Rafferty's picture

Or Affirmative Action?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:38 | Link to Comment knukles
knukles's picture

My 9 have been the best of my life
My mind is no longer a prison.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 12:40 | Link to Comment Jones79
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knukles could you share some information or websites with me?  I'm being serious. thanks.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:24 | Link to Comment DollarMenu
DollarMenu's picture



Find a meeting close to you, show up.

No one gives a shit who you are, how messed up you are.

They will be just really glad you came.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 09:54 | Link to Comment PontifexMaximus
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why wasn't he heading for the capital of the grande nation????

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 09:57 | Link to Comment SaulRosenberg
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Jail in Geneva is better than an apartment in Afariridookiibuurqumayo or Qaydertahadiiledhuub.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:02 | Link to Comment LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

In the US, the airport would have been closed for an extended period, all flights would have been grounded for 24 hours, and all passengers henceforth would be required to drop their pants to prove they are not concealing a pilot's license in their anus before boarding a plane.  

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:15 | Link to Comment Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

And this is a guy who A) starts out in the cockpit, and B) has a valid pilots licence.  If he'd just caught a connector/commuter flight through Portland, Me he'd be sucking down Mai Tais in Manhattan by now. 

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:17 | Link to Comment Motorhead
Motorhead's picture

And here come more cockpit/flight regulations....

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 11:22 | Link to Comment gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

Nobody will be allowed in the cockpit except for the pilot and co-pilot...

Wait, not even the pilot or co-pilot.

Oh.., wait...

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 14:28 | Link to Comment SilverIsKing
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I know some women who won't let anyone enter the cockpit.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:12 | Link to Comment Whoa Dammit
Whoa Dammit's picture

He should have flown here. He would have gotten a  ObamaPhone, and EBT card, free ObamaCare, tuition paid enrollment in the college of his choice, a car loan,  and a Dairy Queen franchise all before he left the tarmac. Heck, he probably would have been able to keep the plane.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:20 | Link to Comment El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

Yes, but first, he would have been held at gunpoint, beaten, tazed, strip searched, anal probed and humiliated.  Then he would have gotton those things. 

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:47 | Link to Comment Whoa Dammit
Whoa Dammit's picture

Oops. Yes I did leave out the Naturalization part of his welcome to America package. 

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:58 | Link to Comment Save_America1st
Save_America1st's picture

No...that would be "racist".  Only white American citizens are subjected to that kind of government "love". 

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:40 | Link to Comment chemystical
chemystical's picture

While remaining an illegal immigrant he could also be given a law degree AND a license to practice.

"On Wednesday, the California Supreme Court holds oral arguments in a case that will determine whether Sergio Garcia, an undocumented immigrant, can become a licensed attorney"

Larry DeSha, a former prosecutor with the State Bar of California, disagrees with that group's position that Garcia should be granted a law license.

"He can't say he is going to fulfill his duties as attorney when one of those duties is to uphold all federal laws, when he's here illegally," DeSha says. "And no one can administer the oath to him knowing he's going to be illegal the minute he puts his hand down. And the other thing is clients can't pay him money. And any client who finds out that he is illegal has to fire him under federal law. "

Details details.  Issue him a phony SS#, announce his birth in HI 37 yrs after the fact and run him for president.

Cal Sup Ct? Well there's a foregone conclusion. Talk about moot court. And the verdict is....

If up used to be up, but up is now down, wtf will it be if/when the country returns to its senses?  I blame the usual divisive suspects.   

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:22 | Link to Comment One And Only
One And Only's picture

He doesn't know that in America he would get an EBT card where he can get all the fried chicken and people drank he wants for free!

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:18 | Link to Comment JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

Talking about Switzerland- the EU retaliates:

Swiss freeze: EU retaliates as Bern rolls out immigration quotas

Brussels has frozen research grants for Swiss universities worth hundreds of millions of euros in retaliation after Switzerland voted to cap the number of immigrants entering the country in a nationwide referendum.

The retaliatory move by the EU comes just one day after Switzerland refused to sign a ‘freedom of movement’ agreement with Croatia, which would have given Croatians unrestricted access to the Swiss employment market. 

In addition to ejecting Switzerland from the so-called Horizon 2020, an 80-billion-euro ($109.5 billion) research and innovation program that distributes funds over seven years (2014-2020), Brussels has suspended Switzerland from the Erasmus student exchange program, ATS news agency reported. 

In 2011-12, 2,600 Swiss students took advantage of Erasmus, while Switzerland played host to some 2,900 foreign students through the EU-funded exchange program.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 11:05 | Link to Comment i-dog
i-dog's picture

Errrm ... why the fuck are EU taxpayers allowing hundreds of millions of euros to be stolen from them at gunpoint and handed in grants to "poor, impoverished" non-EU Switzerland?

Is everyone on drugs?!

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 13:46 | Link to Comment Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Perhaps we should have a referendum to prevent dirty French particles from crossing the border to the Swiss side of the Large Hadron Collider.

Or perhaps, ETH Zurich should cut EU access to its Climate Models and Datasets. (that would really fuck their multi-billion Euro curroptocrat cash cow handout scheme)

It's a complex interconnected system... and the EU is being run by Fascist idiots, who don't seem to have a terribly good record of achieving victory (for themselves or their people) over the past century.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:20 | Link to Comment StychoKiller
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Two werdz:  Viva Socialisme

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:18 | Link to Comment gafgroocK
gafgroocK's picture




Not a good way to start the week

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:20 | Link to Comment NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

This has got to be one of the weirdest stories I ever heard.  A pilot couldn't have simply hopped a flight to Switzerland as a passenger?  He had to hijack the plane he was piloting to get there?  I smell an insanity plea.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 12:05 | Link to Comment Max Cynical
Max Cynical's picture

Yea...I'm not really connecting the dots on the logic here. Couldn't he have walked into any Swiss embassy and requested asylum without incurring the 20-year jail sentence?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 12:58 | Link to Comment Fíréan
Fíréan's picture

What other commodities or persons ( which we will never hear about) may have been on the same plane ? On route from Ethiopia to wherever, and then diverted to Switzerland ? Money,drugs, gold . . . ?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 11:05 | Link to Comment SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

Ethiopia has one of the lowest general intelligence test results of any nation in the world.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 11:10 | Link to Comment Bokkenrijder
Bokkenrijder's picture

Come on, 3 square meals a day (provided you like Cheese Fondue and Rösti) instead of crew food, a good bed and no more jet-lag is already a win-win scenario for most airline crews!

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 11:14 | Link to Comment FredFlintstone
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But no Scotch or vodka.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 11:34 | Link to Comment SilverFish
SilverFish's picture

"Hey guys, I just stole a $20,000,000 plane. I know how much you guys value fiscal responsibility with your citizens, so whaddaya say? Can I? Can I?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:50 | Link to Comment disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

He did stick the landing.
I think he should get some style points for popping the windshield out and climbing down.

We'll have to converse with the Judges at Sochi on this one.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 11:39 | Link to Comment rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

For sure not a CIA job.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 12:00 | Link to Comment ShrNfr
ShrNfr's picture

There seem to have been holes in the cheese of this guy's plan.


Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:20 | Link to Comment LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

Swiss jail, or Ethiopian jail?  There's a big difference there and the Swiss option might actually be better than a copilot's job in Ethiopia.

Ya know, like regular meals and such...

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:57 | Link to Comment NaN
NaN's picture

Those locking cockpit doors sure come in handy.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 19:01 | Link to Comment Wilcox1
Wilcox1's picture

The roll down windows and the rope too!

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:37 | Link to Comment Nage42
Nage42's picture

A passenger on the plane made the co-pilot an offer he couldn't refuse...

That or there is some cargo on that plain that would normally receive too much attention through normal channels?

Mayhaps Switzerland is repatriating some gold/diamonds through round-about channels?

More to it than meets the eye, bet on it! That or the company that produces the auto-land auto-pilot needed a sales bump poster-child...

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