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Intoxicated passenger suspected after Aeroflot 'hijack'

Aeroflot is describing an incident on board a Moscow-bound flight as an attempted hijacking, following the diversion of the aircraft to Khanty-Mansiysk.

Russia’s federal Investigative Committee states that its Ural division has opened a criminal case on the matter, listing the incident as an “aircraft hijacking involving the threat of violence”.

It states that a male passenger, who was intoxicated and claiming to have a weapon, tried to break into the cockpit and demanded that the aircraft change course.

The Boeing 737-800 had departed Surgut shortly before 15:00 on 22 January, operating flight SU1515 to Moscow Sheremetyevo.

Aeroflot states that an “act of unlawful interference” took place, describing it as an “attempt to hijack” the jet.

Some 45min into the flight the aircraft’s captain took the decision to divert to Khanty-Mansiysk where it landed at about 16:15.

The attacker, says the Investigative Committee, has been arrested and identified as a resident of Surgut. None of those on board the aircraft was injured.

Russia’s federal security bureau FSB is supporting the investigation into the circumstances of the incident.

Aeroflot despatched another aircraft to pick up passengers who had been travelling on the flight, the airline says.

It adds that its security service is operating with a state of “heightened alert”, and has informed passengers that aircraft will be undergoing rigorous checks before flight.

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