A Russian flight was forced to make an emergency landing Tuesday after a disruptive passenger attempted to hijack the plane and demanded the captain divert to Afghanistan.
According to RT.com, Aeroflot Flight SU1515 was en route from the Russian city of Surgut to Moscow when the passenger, who was “either drunk or mentally unstable,” reportedly began threatening the crew.
The captain and attendants convinced the unarmed man the plane needed to be refueled before making the trip to Afghanistan and called for an emergency landing in the city of Khanty-Mansiysk.
When the plane landed safely at the airport, it was met by local police and members of Russia’s National Antiterrorism Committee. Officials said the man was still onboard the plane along with the other 69 passengers and seven crew members.
Russian Anti-Terrorist Committee says suspected would-be hijacker of #Aeroflot plane from Surgut to Moscow not detained, remains on plane along with dozens of passengers at Khanty-Mansiisk airport. Reports say security tightened. pic.twitter.com/f8C3pLPIiU
Local media outlets believe the hijacker is a 41-year-old man named Pavel who had been arrested several times in the past for drunk and disorderly behavior. Authorities have yet to confirm his identity.
If charged and convicted of hijacking the plane, he would face a prison term of up to eight years, but it could jump to a maximum penalty of 12 years if the perpetrator wer armed or used violence.
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