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Passenger on Russian flight arrested after demanding pilots turn toward Afghanistan

A passenger on a flight from Surgut to Moscow has been arrested in the town of Khanty-Mansiysk after demanding that the flight leave its assigned route and head toward Afghanistan, Russia’s Investigative Committee announced in a press release.

The Committee indicated that the passenger was drunk at the time of the incident. During the flight, he told the airplane’s crew he was armed, threatened to attack crew members, and attempted to enter the plane’s cockpit in an attempt to force a change in the flight’s route. He has been charged with hijacking an aerial vehicle, which carries a sentence of up to 12 years in Russia. The man is known to be 41 years old and has a criminal record.

RIA Novosti reported that the Khanty-Mansiysk airport was evacuated and cordoned off before the airplane made an emergency landing there. A reserve flight was commissioned to transport more than 70 affected passengers to Moscow, where they will arrive with a delay of more than 10 hours.