A 25-year-old man shared his account on Reddit after his Ethiopian Airlines plane was hijacked on Monday. Ethiopian co-pilot Hailemedhin Abera Tegegn, 31, hijacked the Rome-bound plane after taking off from Addis Ababa. He diverted the aircraft and landed in Geneva, jumping out of a cockpit window and using an emergency rope to get on the ground at Geneva airport. Tegegn told police he was seeking asylum and is currently in custody.
One of the 193 passengers on board came forward and shared his story of what happened during the flight. If you've ever wondered how it feels to ride a hijacked plane, user OK3n's take will give you some insight. He proved he was on the flight by showing a photo of his luggage tag. The Reddit user said that he woke up an hour into his flight when all of the oxygen masks came down.
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"Suddenly, a deep and angry voice talked through the cabin radio: 'SIT DOWN, PUT YOUR MASKS ON, I'M CUTTING THE OXYGEN,' three times. At this point, I realized that the situation is serious: someone is in the pilot cabin and has hijacked the plane. Within a few seconds, the oxygen went down in the cabin: I felt very lightheaded and quickly decided to put on the oxygen mask like the rest of the passengers ... People were crying, yelling, praying. I was in complete panic. Cold. We were then waiting for an update, an information, what was going on. But it never came. We flew for 6 more hours, knowing only that a pirate was at command."
He said he did not believe they would land safely, since he assumed the hijacker would not want to land at an airport.
"For the next 6 hours, I was imagining every possible outcome of this story : from suddenly crashing into the ocean, to hitting a building, to crashing into another plane, to landing and being killed as a martyr. At this point, I remember trying to send a SMS to my family and girlfriend 'There is a problem with the plane. I love you, you are the best' on a 5% battery and stressing that another terrorist would see me and shoot me. There was no network, so I decided to shut down my phone and thought of restarting it just before we crashed, so the messages would eventually come through. I held hands the whole way with my seat neighboor, a very nice, simple older italian woman. Every single second of those 6 hours of uncertainty and soon-to-be death was a psychological torture. I broke down, let everything go, said goodbye, though of my family, of moments in the past, of who will inherit my stuff and much more."
The user, who said his hometown is in France, said he couldn't believe it when the plane landed at Geneva airport:
"Just thinking again about this moment makes me shiver. We are landing. WE, are LANDING. Is this true ? Is this a miracle ? We touched the ground, and the plane eventually stopped completely in a bit away from the plane entrance to the terminal. I remember crying, while most of the people (Italians) were applauding."
Finally, he wrote that authorities told the passengers that the co-pilot was the hijacker, and Swiss police evacuated them from the plane. He and the other passengers were greeted with sandwiches and chocolate at the airport, and luckily for him, he was going to transfer to Geneva anyway, where his mother was waiting for him:
"My mother was there, we went for a walk along the Leman lake and she cooked some good meal. The psychological impact is not negligible, I'm still in a state of shock. I'm a lucky bastard, I hope none of you have to experience that."
Follow Andrea Park on Twitter: @andreapark