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22 Jan, 2019 11:16

Drunken passenger tries to hijack Russian plane & fly to Afghanistan, forces early landing

Drunken passenger tries to hijack Russian plane & fly to Afghanistan, forces early landing

An Aeroflot flight from the Siberian city of Surgut to Moscow was forced to land some 240km short of its destination after a passenger demanded that the plane be diverted to Afghanistan. He has been arrested.

Flight SU1515 has landed in the city of Khanty-Mansiysk. The would-be hijacker has been detained, Russia’s Investigative Committee confirms.

The unruly passenger was drunk, investigators say. He tried to break into the cockpit, claiming he was armed. But no weapons were found on him.

Video filmed on board the plane shows the suspect being led out in handcuffs, prompting applause from the other passengers.

He has been identified as 41-year-old Pavel Shapovalov, a Surgut resident.

Sources say the plane landed after the crew convinced him that the plane required refueling.

Shapovalov has previously been convicted on property damage charges. He has been detained multiple times before for drunk and disorderly behavior, Interfax news agency reports.

At least 10 police squads were dispatched to the airport, according to an RIA Novosti reporter at the scene.

The Boeing 737 reportedly has 69 passengers and seven crew members on board.

An unconfirmed photo of the would-be hijacker has emerged in the Russian media. 

A criminal case has been opened on charges of hijacking an aircraft with threats of violence, which could land the offender in prison for 12 years.

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