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February 17, 2014 AT 12:11 PM
A passenger jet flying from Ethiopia to Rome was hijacked early Monday by the co-pilot, who took control of the aircraft while the pilot was in the bathroom, diverted it to Switzerland and then fled out the cockpit window — into the hands of police, officials said. Geneva airport chief executive Robert Deillon told reporters that the co-pilot — an Ethiopian who wanted to seek asylum in Switzerland — locked himself in the cockpit apparently while the plane was over Sudan. One passenger told the Associated Press that the hijacker, identified as 31-year-old Hailemedhin Abera, threatened to crash the plane if the pilot didn't stop pounding on the locked door.