The man who made a bomb threat aboard a Turkish Airlines plane as it prepared to land in Istanbul late Wednesday was mentally ill, Turkish media reported Thursday.
The 40-year-old passenger from Batman in Turkey reportedly put on a ski mask and announced in Turkish onboard the Oslo-Istanbul flight that he had a bomb and would blow up the plane if it did not return to Oslo.
Police have determined that the man did not have any explosives on his person, Turkish media said. He was found to be carrying a card identifying him as disabled and told police that he had psychological problems. The man had attempted to enter the cockpit but was subdued by two other passengers, a Turk and a Swede, according to reports. The plane, which was carrying around 60 passengers and seven crew members, landed safely at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport and the man was taken into police custody.
Passengers overpower hijacker on Norway-Turkey flight
Passengers aboard a Turkish Airlines flight from Oslo overpowered a would-be hijacker as the plane landed at Istanbul airport on Wednesday, fellow passengers told Turkish media.
Police said the man was a Turk who had demanded that the plane return to Norway. His motive was unclear. According to the Turkish Dogan news agency, he tried to force his way into the cockpit of the plane saying: "I have a bomb."
The pilot notified emergency services at Istanbul's Ataturk airport. Passengers were quickly taken off after landing and the man was arrested and the bomb found to be a fake.
"I was sitting at the front end of the plane and I heard voices at the back of the plane around 30 minutes before we landed," said Lelya Kilic, one of the 59 passengers aboard flight TK1754 from Oslo.
"I saw a fight between passengers and a man with a mask, carrying a device that looked like a radio handset."
Police said a passenger had been sitting on top of the hijacker when they entered the plane, a Dogan journalist said. Police identified the hijacker as Cuma Yasar.
Private Norwegian television network TV2 quoted witness Salim Tahar as saying someone in the back of the plane had put on a mask and threatened to blow up the plane in the air.
"The man spoke Turkish and demanded the plane return to Oslo," Tahar said.
Tahar told TV2 by telephone from Turkey that the man appeared to be holding something but it was not clear what. He said the crew moved the other passengers to the front of the plane, while the would-be hijacker remained at the back.
There were no reports of anyone being hurt in the incident.
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