Ethiopian Plane Hijack: Rumors Label Co-pilot Insane; Sister Pleads to Save Him [Exclusive Photo]
By Johnlee Varghese | February 20, 2014 1:18 AM EST
Hailemedehin Abera Tagegn, the 31-year-old co-pilot of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 702, has stated that he hijacked the plane in a desperate bid to seek asylum in Switzerland. However, the exact reasons for the act are not yet clear. The local Ethiopian media, using a statement from the co-pilot's sister, claim that the hijacker is 'insane', while others suggest he is being made victim by the Ethiopian government.
Abera Tagegn, hijacked the Boeing 767-300 plane, which was headed to Rome from Addis Ababa. He instead forced the flight to land at the Geneva airport at 6.02am local time on Monday and surrendered to the Swiss police. He now faces criminal charges for hijacking a plane that was carrying 202 passengers. What would prompt an educated middle-class youth to take such a course? If he indeed was under some threat, he could have sought asylum, even without hijacking the plane. And that is the big question everyone seems to be asking.
Abera Tagegn's sister, in a Facebook post, released a photo of her brother, claiming her was was paranoid. "He believed that his phone was tapped. He wouldn't use his laptop unless he covered the camera because he believed he was under surveillance," TD Tnsae posted. "He even believed that his home was being searched when he was away up to the point that he left a hidden camera when he went out."
Following her post on Facebook, the local Ethiopian media started circulating the news that the co-pilot was insane. The sister then came up with another Facebook post: "For all the people who are taking my post about my dear brother out of context and calling me names, go ahead say whatever you want about me if it helps my brother's case i will take ur name callings as a blessing! but please please i am begging all of you don't try to get something for yourselves out of this! help him!"
Horn Affairs, a local blogger, revealed that Abera Tagegn comes from a well-to-do family. He was born on 30 August1983 and was later raised in the pre-dominantly middle-class Bahirdar city. Before joining the Ethiopian Airlines, Abera Tagegn was learning Architecture.
His friends describe him as quiet and reclusive. It also notes that the co-pilot comes from a devote Orthodox Christian family.
Meanwhile, local daily Ethiodaily claimed that the Ethiopian government was trying to divert the attention from real issue, which is the mistreatment of people under the apartheid rule in the country.
It stated that was the reason why the government was spreading false information and maligning the family background of Abera Tagegn, and claiming that the co-pilot was insane. The daily also noted that rumors were rife that the co-pilot hijacked the plane at the behest of Egypt.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Flight MH17 Attack: Russians Claim 'Putin A Terrorist,' Memorial at Dutch Embassy Overflows [PHOTOS]
- Typhoon Rammasun Claims 18 Lives in China, Incurs $4.32B Losses (PHOTOS)
- Ellen DeGeneres Caught Cheating with Mutual Friend Before Portia de Rossi’s Rehab – Reports [PHOTOS]
- Typhoon Matmo Leaves 32k Customers w/o Electricity in Taiwan, Weakens After Landing in China
Join the Conversation
- Ideological Support Swells for Scottish Independence
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Dutch Wants Putin's Daughter Maria Deported to Russia From Holland
- New Zealand and China Decide to Boost Defence Ties
- Gaza Crisis: 695 Dead & 4,500 Injured, UN Accuses Israel of War Crimes
- Scientists Warn MERS Virus Could be Spread Airborne
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Apps Leak Online, Five Fresh Features to Expect from the Android Smartphone
- Moto 360 Price Speculations, Key Features, Strategic Release Date, Design: A Watch That is More Than Just Time
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update Rollout: 20 Nokia Lumia Phones Eligible and 13 New Features to be Added
- HTC Google Nexus 8 Release Date Imminent with New Nexus 7 Deals, Two New Tablets Soon
- Three New Moto G Successors Spotted in FCC Document Dubbed Moto G2, Moto M and More --Reports
- iPad Air 2 Release Date Will Skip IGZO Panel; To Rollout with Super-Slim iPad Mini Air
- Upcoming iPad Mini 3 Could be 30% Thinner and Likely be Called iPad Mini Air; Apple Q3 Results Show 9% Decrease in iPad Sales