At 5:00pm Pacific Time, Ethiopian Flight 702, a Boeing 767-300 (registered ET-AMF) was flying over Sudan when it started squawking 7500. The transponder code, is supposed to indicate a “hijacking.”
Sometimes, pilots accidentally switch to this code or equipment malfunctions. This however, does not appear to be the case. The aircraft can be tracked live via Flightradar 24.
This was hopefully just an error, but this was certainly a deviation from normal flight.
We have reached out to a source who is an aircraft electrical expert and they confirmed that a “7500″ code can’t come from a glitch.
The flight, operating from Addis Abba to Rome has been confirmed by Rome Airport not to have arrived yet. It is currently circling over Geneva Airport (GVA), with a military escort. Emergency crews are standing by a GVA.
The aircraft landed in Geneva, safely, but with an extremely limited quantity of fuel remaining.
This story will be updated as details emerge.
We will also be live updating via twitter with #ET702
Ethiopian Airlines Press Release:
Ethiopian Airlines flight 702 on scheduled service departing from Addis Ababa at 00:30 (local time) scheduled to arrive in Rome at 04:40 (local time) was forced to proceed to Geneva Airport. Accordingly, the flight has landed safely at Geneva Airport. All passengers and crew are safe at Geneva Airport.
Ethiopian Airlines is making immediate arrangements to fly its esteemed customers on-board the flight to their intended destinations.
Once the press release went out to the public, the airline recanted it. Shortly it was re-released with minor changes.
- The aircraft now has 20 minutes of fuel remaining (8:45pm PST) via LiveATC.net
- Reports of one engine potentially flaming out (unconfirmed via LiveATC)
- Reports of the aircraft being directed to make an approach but not landing until a response is given regarding the word “asylum” (via LiveATC)
- Fuel warning has been received on the flight deck (Via LiveATC)
- Aircraft apparently cleared for an ILS approach. What could be a hostage negotiator has been heard on the radio (Via LiveATC)
- Response to the request will be given by Swiss Authorities on Short Final for landing on Runway 05 (via LiveATC)
- AIRCRAFT HAS LANDED SAFELY (Via FlightRadar24 and LiveATC)
- Pilots heard on radio stating they will be exiting via the aircraft flight deck window. (via LiveATC)
- Airport/Airspace around Geneva is now closed (via LiveATC)
- Geneva airport remains closed (updated at 10:01PST)
- Unconfirmed reports the aircraft is parked at the end of Runway 05.
- Asylum request still pending. (9:33PST)
- International arrivals into Geneva are diverting to other airports (via FlightRadar 24)
- “We will disembark our passengers within the next 5 minutes and we will call you back.” Heard over LiveATC. (10:13pm PST) According to John Walton- this may actually have been regarding the arrival of BA723.
- Geneva Airport now saying that police are still negotiating with hijackers. (10:32pm)
- As of 10:42pm, there are unconfirmed rumors there is a lone hijacker.
- Geneva Airport Police confidently stating that no one has been hurt (10:45pm)
- Swiss Authorities stating that they have arrested the hi-jacker
- There is a press conference scheduled for 9:00am CET (12:00am PST)
- Swiss Police confirming that a pilot aboard the aircraft is the individual in custody (10:54pm PST)
- Signs of life on Geneva ATC are starting to be heard- normal airport operations are expected to resume shortly (10:56pm) (via Live ATC)
- News from the press conference indicates that it may have been the first officer that hijacked the aircraft (12:16am PST)
- The aircraft was apparently escorted by two Eurofighter Typhoons (12:20am PST)
- The co-pilot locked himself in the flight deck and was unarmed (12:27am)
- Regardless of where the hijacker is tried (either Geneva or Bern)- he is looking at a potential 20 year sentence.
- Back in 1996 an Ethiopian 767 had to ditch in the water due to hi-jackers and lack of fuel. Fight 961