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Video: Passengers foil hijacking on Turkey flight

Image: Cuma Yasar
Salih Zeki Fazlioglu  /  AP
Police detain Cuma Yasar, 40, at Ataturk airport in Istanbul late Wednesday.
msnbc.com news services
updated 1/6/2011 10:53:31 AM ET 2011-01-06T15:53:31

Passengers overpowered a would-be hijacker as a plane landed in Istanbul on Wednesday, witnesses told Turkish media.

A man aboard a Turkish Airlines flight from Oslo began shouting threats after putting on a ski mask and demanded that the plane return to the Norwegian capital, Anatolia news agency reported. However, two passengers were able to restrain him, the news service said.

According to the Dogan news agency, the man tried to force his way into the cockpit of the plane saying: "I have a bomb."

Police said the man is Turkish and confirmed reports that he had demanded to return to Norway. His motive was unclear.

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Police identified the suspect as Cuma Yasar, 40.

Anatolia said the man was carrying a card identifying him as a disabled person. State news agency Anadolu said that the suspect was believed to be mentally ill.

'Radio handset'
The pilot notified emergency services at Istanbul's Ataturk airport. Passengers were quickly taken off the jet after landing there and the man was arrested. No explosive device was found.

"I was sitting at the front end of the plane and I heard voices at the back of the plane around 30 minutes before we landed," said Lelya Kilic, one of the passengers aboard Flight 1754.

"I saw a fight between passengers and a man with a mask, carrying a device that looked like a radio handset."

Police said a passenger was sitting on top of the hijacker when they entered the plane, according to a Dogan journalist.

Anatolia had earlier reported that flight attendants had subdued the suspect.

Private Norwegian television network TV2 quoted witness Salim Tahar as saying someone in the back of the plane had put on a mask and threatened to blow up the plane in the air.

"The man spoke Turkish and demanded the plane return to Oslo," Tahar said.

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Tahar told TV2 by telephone from Turkey that the man appeared to be holding something but it was not clear what. He said the crew moved the other passengers to the front of the plane, while the would-be hijacker remained at the back.

There were no reports of any injuries.

The Boeing 737-800 was carrying 60 passengers, including a child, and seven crew members.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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