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Copilot hijacks Ethiopian plane and requests asylum in Geneva

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GENEVA — Locking the pilot out of the cockpit, an Ethiopian Airlines copilot hijacked a plane bound for Italy on Monday and diverted it to Geneva, where he asked for asylum, officials said.

One passenger said the hijacker threatened to crash the plane if the pilot didn’t stop pounding on the locked door. Another said he was terrified ‘‘for hours’’ as the plane careened across the sky.

The Boeing 767-300 took off from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on an overnight flight to Milan and then Rome, but an Ethiopian official said it sent a distress message over Sudan that it had been hijacked.

Officials said no one on the flight was injured and the hijacker was taken into custody after surrendering to Swiss police.

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