What We Know About the Reported Plane Hijacking During the Sochi Opening Ceremony

Wong Maye-E/AP

As the opening ceremonies in Sochi get underway, multiple news outlets are reporting on an attempted plane hijacking that ended in a diverted landing in Turkey. The attempted hijacker claimed that there was a bomb on board, a Turkish official told the Associated Press.

NBC's Richard Engel is reporting that the attempted hijacker wanted the plane diverted to Sochi, but that the plane's crew managed to get the plane to Istanbul instead. The passengers and crew are reportedly still on board.

The plane originated in Ukraine, according to The Wall Street Journal. Engel reports that the plane was a Pegasus Airlines flight, but airline has not yet commented.

Today's Zaman, an English language newspaper in Turkey, reports,

Officials said an Ukrainian national tried to hijack the plane, claiming that he had explosives on him. He tried to enter cockpit but pilots denied his entry.

The hijacker asked pilots to fly to Sochi, where winter Olympic games are being held. After convincing the hijacker that the plane's new destination is Sochi, pilots successfully landed the plane in İstanbul and informed airport officials about the incident.

Turkish special forces launched an operation to the plane through the cockpit gate and neutralized the hijacker.

Turkish media, via the Wall Street Journal, is also reporting that the hijacker has been "rendered ineffective." CNN is also reporting that the suspected hijacker has been subdued by Turkish security forces.

This story is developing and the details are unclear.

Outstanding questions:

Was the hijacker working alone? 

Was the threat the hijacker made credible? Was there actually a bomb?

How was the hijacker subdued? 

How did the hijacker make it through security?

We'll try to fill in these answers as we learn more, and we'll update here.

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