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Turkish officials: Would-be hijacker of plane from Ukraine in custody

Feb. 7, 2014 at 7:16 PM   |   Comments

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ISTANBUL, Turkey, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A Ukrainian man who said he had a bomb and wanted to divert a plane to Sochi, Russia, site of the Winter Olympics, was detained Friday, Turkish officials said.

The Turkish Transportation Ministry said a Pegasus Airlines plane, traveling from Kharkov, Ukraine, to Istanbul with about 110 passengers, landed safely at Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen airport after a passenger "said that there was a bomb on board" and wanted the plane to fly to Sochi, CNN reported.

Police told NBC News the would-be hijacker was Artem Hozlov, a Ukrainian in his mid-30s.

"While the plane was in the air, one of the passengers said that there was a bomb on board and asked the plane to not land in Sabiha Gokcen but rather to land in Sochi," Transportation Ministry official Habip Soluk told CNN's Turkish unit.

Hozlov said the bomb was in the baggage hold, a Transportation Ministry official said.

The pilot sounded an alert and an F-16 Turkish military jet was scrambled, forcing the plane to land in Istanbul, Britain's the Telegraph said.

Soluk said Hozlov did not gain access to the plane's cockpit.

The Wall Street Journal, quoting Turkish television, said the hijacker was "rendered ineffective."

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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