Bomb threat aboard Ukraine-to-Istanbul flight, passenger demands plane go to Sochi
Turkey scrambled an F-16 fighter jet to accompany a passenger plane arriving in Istanbul from Ukraine on Friday after a bomb threat was made by a passenger demanding to go to Sochi, where the Winter Olympics are underway, Turkish officials said.
Television footage showed the Pegasus Airlines flight from the Ukrainian city of Kharkov arriving in Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport.
“People are still inside but the pilot called security and gave them a signal that they can enter the plane. There is a translator — a Turkish man near the Ukrainian to calm him down,” an airport official said.
The passenger was believed to have drunk alcohol and was calmed down by the crew and persuaded to let the plane, a Boeing 737-800, land in Istanbul at 6:02 p.m. local time, according to the Dogan news agency.
An official from Turkey’s transport ministry said there were 110 passengers on board and confirmed that a bomb threat had been made, but said the plane had landed safely.
Security teams were continuing to inspect the plane, the ministry said in a statement.