Saturday, December 24, 2016

Afriqiyah A320 diverts to Malta IAP after hijacked by two pax

An Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320-200 (5A-ONB), performing flight 8U-209 from Sebha to Tripoli (Libya) with 111 passengers and six crew, was en route at FL340 nearing the top of descent into Tripoli when the aircraft did not start the descent but changed the course to Malta due to unlawful interference on board.

The aircraft landed safely on Malta's RWY 31 about 40-mins later at 11:32L (10:32Z). The aircraft taxied onto RWY 23 and stopped 850m short of the runway end of that runway. Engines were still running 90-mins after landing and were subsequently shut down.

Malta's government reported two hijackers claiming to be armed with hand grenades took control of the aircraft and that negotiations with the hijackers were under way.

Malta's Prime Minister reported at 14:50L that all passengers and some crew members have been released, only the two hijackers and some crew were still on board of the aircraft.

At 15:45L Malta's Prime Minister reported that the hijackers surrendered and were taken into custody. All people aboard the aircraft have disembarked.

Police later reported the weapons (hand grenade and pistols) were dummies. (Source: avherald.com, 23-Dec-2016)