A Moscow-bound passenger plane has been involved in a hijacking attempt, Russian news media report. Aeroflot flight SU1515 en route from Surgut to Moscow on January 22, 2019, was forced to make an emergency landing at another airport in Russia, after a passenger on board demanded the plane head for Afghanistan.
Flight tracking website FlightRadar24.com shows the Aeroflot Boeing 737-800 (reg: VP-BRR) took off from Surgut in western Siberia at 12:55 Moscow time. The plane was scheduled to land at Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) but changed its course only 15 minutes after takeoff, Russian news agency TASS reports. The 737 diverted to Khanty-Mansyisk Airport (HMA), where it landed at 14:18 (UTC+3).
According to Russia’s National Anti-terrorism Committee (NAC) the passenger on board the Aeroflot flight SU1515 demanded to change the plane’s route and even attempted to break into the cockpit, claiming he was armed. The flight crew reportedly managed to persuade the man to land in the nearby town of Khanty-Mansyisk on the pretext of re-fuelling, Sputnik informs.
Russia’s Interfax informed that the passenger demanded to turn the aircraft to Afghanistan.
“According to reports, a plane flying from Surgut to Moscow changed its course at the demand of one of the passengers. The pilot made the only right decision to land at the nearest airport, in Khanty-Mansyisk,” a spokesman for Russia’s National Anti-terrorist Committee (NAC) Andrei Przhezdomsky was quoted as saying by TASS earlier in the day.
The latest news coming in from Interfax is that the man has been detained by law enforcement. No one was hurt in the incident. Aeroflot has sent a plane to fly the passengers. Initial reports also suggest the passenger was intoxicated at the time of the incident.