Russia foils plane hijacking in Moscow

Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:19pm EDT
 
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian special forces staged a lightning strike on Thursday to detain a man who had seized an aircraft on a domestic flight to Moscow's Domodedovo airport, a spokeswoman for the airport said.

"During the flight, an attempt was made to hijack the airplane. After its landing at Domodedovo, it was freed thanks to well-coordinated actions by the interior ministry and FSB (domestic security service)," the spokeswoman told Reuters.

"This was the fastest operation to free an airplane in Russia's civil aviation history."

The plane was on its way to Moscow from Russia's North Caucasus spa town of Mineralnye Vody when it was hijacked, she the spokeswoman said. She gave no further details.

It was unclear how many passengers were on board or how the man had managed to gain control of the airliner.

Quoting police sources, ITAR-TASS news agency said all the passengers had been freed safely after special forces disguised as doctors boarded the aircraft at the airport.

The man had demanded a meeting with the media and law enforcement agencies, the news agency said, giving no more details on other demands.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Dmitry Solovyov, Editing by Mark Heinrich)