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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EgyptAir Flight Hijacked in Istanbul




HAMBURG, Germany -- German police arrested the alleged hijacker of an EgyptAir flight after he forced it to land Tuesday in Hamburg, and 55 people aboard were freed without injury, a spokesman said.


A hijacker, armed with a knife, seized control of Flight 838 shortly after it took off from Istanbul's Ataturk airport at 6:16 p.m. headed for Cairo, authorities said. The motive for the hijacking was not known. Cairo airport sources said the cockpit crew resisted the hijacker and one co-pilot was injured. The extent of the injury was not immediately known, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.


The plane landed in Hamburg at 8:45 p.m., airport spokeswoman Karin Dannel said. Federal police, firefighters and ambulances were placed on alert for the Boeing 737-500's arrival.


The plane was led to an area about half a kilometer away from the terminal, Dannel said.


Police tried to establish contact with the hijacker and determine whether they needed a translator or could speak to him in English, spokesman Hans-Juergen Petersen said.


Petersen said standard procedure was to try to talk with the hijacker to try and calm him down.


When asked what kinds of special police forces were being brought to the scene, he said: "Everything.''


Turkey's Anatolia news agency and NTV television said the hijacker first demanded to go to Hamburg, then asked to go to London instead. An EgyptAir official in Cairo said the pilot, Captain Hazem Abadi, told the hijacker that the plane did not have enough fuel to reach London and was heading for Hamburg.


The plane had 46 passengers and seven crew members aboard, and two EgyptAir sky marshals, the airline said.


Security on EgyptAir, which flies daily from Istanbul to Cairo, includes sky marshals who routinely travel on its flights and assist with pre-boarding baggage checks.


Turkish Transport Minister Enis Oksuz said the plane was refused permission to land in Sofia, Bulgaria.


Three planes were hijacked in Turkey in 1998 and authorities claimed airport security was tightened as a result.