The Slatest

Olympic Hijack Scare Was “Just a Drunk on a Plane,’ U.S. Official Says

Update: The situation in Istanbul is reportedly now under control with the suspect in custody. More noteworthy is the fact that the working theory is that the passenger was being fueled by alcohol more than anything else. An American official told ABC News this afternoon that “the situation has been resolved” and confirmed that Turkish authorities suspect this was “99 percent (probably) just a drunk on a plane.” The official added that they don’t believe the man was part of any larger plot.

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Original post, 12:52 p.m.: Some scary news out of Turkey this afternoon while much of the world’s attention was focused on the Olympic opening ceremony in Sochi, via CNN:

A Pegasus Airlines plane landed at an Istanbul airport on Friday after a passenger “said that there was a bomb on board” and wanted the plane to land in Sochi, Russia, officials with Turkey’s Transportation Ministry said.

“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 (in Turkey) but rather to land in Sochi,” Transportation Ministry official Habip Soluk said Friday on CNNTurk.

The plane sent a hijacking signal, and after landing it was being held in a safe zone at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport, Turkish state media outlet TRT reported. The plane had been flying a route between Kharkhov, Ukraine and Istanbul, the Transportation Ministry representative said. It wasn’t clear in which city the flight started.

According to CBS News, Soluk told a local TV station that authorities are currently trying to convince the passenger to give himself up. So, for now, this appears to still be a developing situation—albeit one that is thankfully happening on the ground and not in the air. NBC News is reporting that the would-be hijacker is a “Ukranian national,” although that detail remains very much unconfirmed, so take that with a heaping of salt until we know more.

Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of the Sochi Olympics.

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