World

Russian police detain drunken man who attempted to hijack plane

Russian police detained a drunken man who threatened the crew of an passenger plane flying Tuesday from a Siberian city to Moscow, forcing it to land shortly after takeoff.

Flight grounded after passenger pretended he was armed, ordered crew to divert to Afghanistan

A flight from the Siberian city of Surgut to Moscow was forced to land Tuesday after a suspected hijacker attempted to redirect the plane to Afghanistan, Russian authorities said. (Regis Duvignau/Reuters)

Russian police on Tuesday detained a drunken man who threatened the crew of an passenger plane flying from a Siberian city to Moscow, forcing it to land shortly after takeoff.

A passenger who claimed he was armed ordered the crew of Aeroflot flight SU 515, which was due to fly from the city of Surgut to Moscow, to divert the plane to Afghanistan, according to Russian media reports.

It later turned out he was bluffing and unarmed, the news agencies reported.

The plane landed in the city of Khanty-Mansiysk, about 230 kilometres west of Surgut.

The plane stood on the runway in Khanty-Mansiysk for more than an hour before law enforcement officials went onboard.

State television channel Rossiya-24 showed footage of masked security officers seizing the man on board the plane and leading him out with his hands behind his back.

The airport was evacuated and the area cordoned off. Aeroflot said no one was hurt.

Investigators said the man had been identified as a Surgut resident who has a past conviction for property damage.

Russia's investigative committee said it had opened a criminal investigation into the man, who faces potential charges of hijacking a plane while threatening to use violence.

The crime carries a jail sentence of between seven and 12 years.

With files from Reuters